Behind the tantalizingly sexual title Jennifer’s Body hides a stylish and pacey horror comedy. And right away I must tell you that there’s no nudity in this movie. Megan Fox does not appear nude nor does Amanda Seyfried. There will be some steamy scenes featuring both of them but that’s about it. With that out of the way, let’s look at what do we have here. This is basically a dark high-school comedy with some horror elements. There will be gore and a couple of graphic scenes especially if you choose the Unrated version of the movie. And I do recommend you do that.
It reminds me of all those eighties slasher movies complete with leg warmers and other shit. We will be following Needy, a nerdy high school girl who starts to suspect that something might be wrong with her best friend Jennifer. The storytelling and the structure of this movie are simply flawless. It opens with a scene where we see this pretty, dangerous, and scarred girl locked up in a mental institution. And then it goes back in time to explain how she got there complete with cheeky narration. The plot is full of mystery, feeding us little bits and pieces of information to keep us hungry for the next bite.
On top of it all, Jennifer’s Body is a movie taking place in the iconic average small town in America. It’s not too different from a place I spent a large chunk of my childhood. After all, all small towns look alike. We even had that singular rock and metal bar where bands “from the city” would come and play. Moving on, the script is full of well-executed and snarky jokes. Jennifer’s cynical yet oddly realistic and grounded view of the world offers a lot of them. Megan Fox was excellent as Jennifer showing us that she’s not just a beautiful woman but also a very good actress.
Megan along with the totally money-grabbing no-holds-barred marketing approach to this movie generated a lot of backlash. This is the reason why the movie holds just a 5.4 rating on IMDb. In the following years, the people finally started realizing that it wasn’t half-bad once the dust had settled. Amanda Seyfried gave another great performance here, probably her best up to date. I’ve seen her in a lot of movies but I think that here we can see her full range. Just as we can with Megan Fox. Both of them love Jennifer’s Body and especially their super sexy scene on the bed.
Welcome to Devil’s Kettle, a small town where almost nothing happens. Here, the biggest attraction is the Devil’s Kettle waterfall but it pales in comparison to all the high school drama that’s going on right now. Fueled by raging hormones two students are preparing for a night they won’t forget. Smoking hot Jennifer and her nerdy best friend Needy are about to go see Low Shoulder, a rock band from the big city. They don’t know it yet, but tonight their lives are going to be changed forever.
Just a couple of weeks ago, I talked about how Evil Dead Rise is the best horror movie I’ve seen in years. And while I was watching Jennifer’s Body last night, I realized just how many similarities there are between these two movies. We have the creepy smile, the skinny dipping in the lake, and the foreboding levitation. Okay, there were three similarities but I just wanted to mention them. Jennifer’s Body leans heavily into the high school stuff, reminding me of two nineties sleeper hits The Faculty and Cruel Intentions. And of course, who could forget the Australian masterpiece The Loved Ones.
While the first two are more flashy and relatively superficial movies, Aussies really nailed on the head with that one. And the same can be said about the movie we’re talking about today. Amidst all the mystery, occult, and murders, there are characters ripe for exploration and realistic situations. Like the one that happens after the band’s show is over. Jennifer’s character is a classical representation of a “hot chick” from a male perspective. Needy seems like an awkward fan tagging along with her popular friend. However, we will soon find out what she’s really capable of.
Finally, I want to add that the movie drags on a bit in the middle but then offers a satisfying finale. And a formula for many slasher homages that will come in the following years. You can start your exploration of this subgenre with The Babysitter and take it from there. I simply cannot stop myself from expressing my disgust toward the band featured in the movie, Low Shoulder. It’s exactly the kind of irritating, pretentious, and smug rocky band that I hated when I was younger. I still don’t like them but I understand what they’re going for, they’re simply not my cup of tea.
Director: Karyn Kusama
Writer: Diablo Cody
Cast: Megan Fox, Amanda Seyfried, Adam Brody, Johnny Simmons, Chris Pratt, J.K. Simmons
Fun Facts: The waterfall featured in the movie Jennifer’s Body actually exists, it’s the Devil’s Kettle, at Judge Magney State Park in Minnesota. All the water is disappearing into a glacial pothole.