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Awesome: 5.88%
Worth A Look: 21.57%
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Pretty Crappy: 15.69%

6 reviews, 15 user ratings

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Jennifer's Body
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by Rob Gonsalves

"My better half has bitten me."
4 stars

Horror movies exist at least partly to tell us things we wish werenít true, and from "Jenniferís Body" ó written and directed by women ó we learn that nobody fears and loathes the female body more than females.

Jennifer (Megan Fox) has a body that attracts boys, which gets her in trouble ó like, wrong-end-of-a-sacrificial-knife trouble. Needy (Amanda Seyfried), Jenniferís dweeby BFF since the sandbox, both loves and hates Jennifer for what she has and what she can get just because she won the genetic lottery.

Diablo Cody, who wrote the film, and Karyn Kusama, who directed it, have clearly been on both sides: resentful nerds in high school (Iím guessing), jeered at by everyone and their sister in adulthood (Cody suffered an enormous backlash after winning an Oscar for writing Juno, and Kusamaís previous film was the universally insulted Aeon Flux). There is a demon of the supernatural kind in the movie, but it gets a lot of help from the demons already devouring the characters from within ó insecurity, self-hatred, the twin horns of sexual desire and the inevitable (from a female perspective) disappointment of its fulfillment. The movie is also, in case Iíve lost any of you, an almost first-rate horror-comedy.

Jennifer is lured into a van by emo band Low Shoulder, whose members have something diabolical in mind for her. Their plan doesnít quite work out, since Jennifer isnít quite the virgin sheíd led them to believe. So she emerges impervious to harm and with an insatiable hellspawn in her belly, demanding the intestines of clueless boys. Kusamaís direction of the feeding scenes will be a letdown for gorehounds but a relief for the squeamish ó editing and shadows are her workarounds. Codyís dialogue occasionally dabbles in the quirky Codyspeak everyone seems to despise, but nobody sneers at stylized patter when Tarantino does it. Besides, here it suggests a shared in-joke universe between Jennifer and Needy.

The warm Needy is the moral center, and Seyfried carries the movie without strain. Someone once referred to Megan Fox as the Uncanny Valley Girl, and while sheís not ready for Uncle Vanya just yet, her lacquered impersonality and crude coyness work well for Jennifer. Fox will probably never be better cast than as a desire-driven, boy-munching airhead. People are rooting for Fox to fail ó and for the movie to fail ó the way they mightíve rooted for the homecoming queen or the head cheerleader to fall into indignity. But Fox does what the role requires, and Jenniferís Body works its body-horror metaphors as only smart women whoíve been there can.

What keeps it from being a great horror film, rather than a very good horror film with surprising shades of sadness, is that past a certain point it literalizes too much. Iím a fan of ambiguous horror, and when we (and neutral, rational parties in the film) see the results of Jenniferís midnight snacks, the threat is irrefutably supernatural. Needy, who narrates, couldíve been an unreliable narrator (the movie begins with her in a mental institution), spinning us a dark and gory fantasia about what she canít let herself face. ďI donít tell whoppers and Iím not crazy,Ē she says at one point, but what if she does and she is?

"Jenniferís Body" thus stays on the level of a smarter-than-average Saturday-night demon-fest. Itís still better than most of what we horror fans are served, haters be damned.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=18291&reviewer=416
originally posted: 09/20/09 16:58:44
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2009 Toronto International Film Festival For more in the 2009 Toronto International Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

3/12/18 Mark Louis Baumgart A fun little time-killer with two pretty leads. I was entertained and not bored. 4 stars
9/14/17 morris campbell it sux dont watch it 1 stars
6/01/11 art IT HAD OVERTONES OF GINGER SNAPS,but it was a TREAT REGARDLESS!,watch this flick! 4 stars
5/09/11 Shaun A So bad it's good. 3 stars
6/01/10 art this reminds me of 1987's HELLO MARY LOU PROM NIGHT 2, but regardless THIS WAS GREAT! 4 stars
1/13/10 art A BIZZARE FABLE!,to say the least! 3 stars
12/16/09 Lenny Zane Best post-MEAN GIRLS performance by any member of MEAN GIRLS Cast. 5 stars
11/20/09 Jessica Contrary to many people, I think the movie is quite good and very interesting. 5 stars
11/14/09 DK A notch down from "Juno", but entertaining none the less. Fox and Seyfried are impressive 3 stars
11/06/09 Tiffany Thunderhurst Best horror film since EXORCISM OF EMILY ROSE. Amanda Seyfried is superb! 5 stars
9/27/09 Doogin Not a shred of talent on display from any of the people involved... Cody is a hack. 1 stars
9/25/09 Clare The unearned condescention oozing form your review is disturbing. Man, did you ever miss it 4 stars
9/24/09 Man Out 6 Bucks Missed many chances to entertain. She's evil... but just high school evil. 2 stars
9/21/09 www.wrightcapital.biz I worry, somewhat, that male designers design more for men, and that perhaps female designe 4 stars
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  18-Sep-2009 (R)
  DVD: 29-Dec-2009


  DVD: 29-Dec-2009

Directed by
  Karyn Kusama

Written by
  Diablo Cody

  Megan Fox
  Amanda Seyfried
  Johnny Simmons
  Adam Brody
  J.K. Simmons
  Amy Sedaris

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