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Movies Review

Jennifer's Body

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Jennifer's Body
Released on Wednesday, Nov 4 2009

Director: Karyn Kusama
Screenwriters: Diablo Cody
Starring: Megan Fox, Amanda Seyfried, Johnny Simmons, Adam Brody
Running time: 102 mins
Rating: 15

The promotion and build-up to the release of Jennifer's Body has been heavily dominated by one scene in the film. In it, best friends Needy and Jennifer share a brief moment of passion and kiss. It's a needless moment, which could (and probably should) have been scrapped in the final edit. However, when you take into consideration that the actresses involved are lads' mag pin-up Megan Fox and Mamma Mia's Amanda Seyfried, it becomes obviously apparent how the romantic clinch made the cut. They have used some unconvincing arguments about subversiveness, but director Karyn Kusama and writer Diablo Cody's (Juno) willingness to resort to flogging the movie off the back of Fox's cleavage and highly-sexual public profile spoils what could have been an interesting and original addition to the slasher horror genre.

School geek Needy (Seyfried) and the ultra-confident, boy-magnet Jennifer (Fox) are unlikely high school best friends in the small town of Devil's Kettle. Despite their differences in lifestyle and looks - one proudly boasts that she's "not even a backdoor virgin", while the other is a reluctant and awkward partner to a wet long-term boyfriend - they have been best pals since the sandbox and are confident that nothing can tear them apart. However, after one of Jennifer's rebellious nights out watching desperate indie band Low Shoulder, the girls' lives and friendship are ripped apart forever.

Wooed by the creepy and desperate indie frontman Nikolai (Brody), Jennifer decides to head off in the band's tour bus rather than home with her school buddy. When locked in the van, the group reveal their true intentions as they turn out to be experts in devil worship, who are willing to do literally anything to get their big musical break. Under the illusion that their offering to Satan is a virgin, they violently slaughter Jennifer and await number one records and headline arena shows. However, due to their error, Jennifer returns as a blood-craving monster who snacks on teenage boys to keep her glowing looks. The only person who notices that Jennifer has changed is her former best friend, but whether she can persuade anyone to believe her before she kills off the entire Devil's Kettle male population is another matter.

Cody earned an Oscar for her script about another teenage girl with growing pains in Juno. However, her attempts to capture the spark and dry humour of her breakthrough hit only occasionally hit the mark. Adam Brody's makes a disturbingly realistic evil musician, stealing most of the big laughs as he complains before sacrificing Jennifer about "how tough it is for indie bands these days". His band Low Shoulder's success after killing Jennifer with their 'charity' single 'Through The Trees', also suggests that Cody knows a thing or two about whiny, skinny jean-clad boys with guitars. Meanwhile, Johnny Simmons does a decent Michael Cera impression (the real thing presumably wasn't available) as Needy's bumbling boyfriend who gets caught up in Jennifer's killing spree.

However, any intention of this being anything more than a frothy, titillating horror are lost among lingering cleavage shots of Fox, that kiss and some confused feminist aspirations. There's only so much female empowerment that can be taken away from a film which slips so easily into slasher movie cliché's and ultimately ends in a massive catfight. There are far worse things to watch in the world than Megan Fox dressed as a cheerleader devouring jocks for breakfast (Transformers 2 for example), but if you were looking forward to something aside from that, Jennifer's Body sadly disappoints.


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