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10.17.2017
Jennifer's Body (2009)
Movie Review by The Corpse Bride
03.24.10

Jennifer's Body (2009) Mean Girls with demonic attributes and a feminist subtext. Sounds promising, but it fails to deliver either laughs or scares in sufficient numbers.

Jennifer's Body is the second feature from the writer (Diablo Cody) and director (Karyn Kusama) behind the superbly gentle and funny teenage pregnancy comedy, Juno. The film tells the story of Jennifer (Megan Fox), the sexiest girl in school who turns in to a man-eating demon. It is therefore up to her geeky and unattractive best friend, Needy (Amanda Seyfried) to stop her murdering every boy in school. Juno 2 this isn't. The only recognisable Cody trademark running throughout is her hip teen dialogue ('you are so jealo') which in a horror film becomes tiresome.

By no means is this funny or gentle, as the pair go all the way and opt to go down the sex and violence route. This film leaves you asking 'is it a slasher film' or 'is it about female empowerment?' It might want to be a bit of both but in the end; it doesn't quite stand alone as either. The film has a wildly uneven tone throughout its duration. At times it is a fun teen Mean Girls type of light hearted horror film, then at other points it feels as if its about to take a dark sinister u-turn and change of pace, but instead it uncomfortably oscillates between the two from scene to scene.

Megan Fox is not to blame. If Jennifer is supposed to be cold, distanced and heartless she does a great job, but if there is supposed to be a sweet centre behind her cold exterior, then she fails. Perhaps Jennifer's Body is trying to tap in to the same hormonal horror issues as featured in Ginger Snaps and wants to offer a witty, subversive look at the darker side of teen friendship.

I'm in agreement with Kira Cochrane with regard to what she believes Jennifer's Body is - a feminist exploitation film. The film is very similar to an exploitation film, in that it is trashy, improbable and fun. Yet it features typical exploitation aesthetics such as close ups of Fox's cleavage, rear and a rather gratuitous extended kiss between Fox and Seyfried. At its core, the film has a feminist structure as essentially, it's focusing on the relationship between the two girls. Also, it's written by a woman and directed by a woman, yet marketed and produced by men. However, despite the feminist outlook, it ends up being a disappointing catfight between the two girls.

Directed by Karyn Kusama

Reference: Cochrane, K. (Monday 2nd November, 2009) Jennifer's Body: A Feminist Slasher Film, Really?

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