Horror-thon Day #4: Jennifer’s Body

Jennifer’s Body is an interesting film.

Is it a film about female empowerment? A film about how low people are willing to stoop to get on top? Is it a film about the pressures of high school? Is it a revenge thriller?

I just sat through it and I honestly have no idea.

But it was bloody fun.

A career best for Megan Fox, she’s fantastic throughout and it just shows that when people take roles they enjoy, you get passion and you get range. Throughout this film Fox is emotionally manipulative, insecure, hard-hearted, vulnerable, demonic, threatening, titillating and some times kind of heart breaking. This proves she’s more than the hood ornament she’s been cast as and directed as over the years. She’s a great actress with the potential to really shine. She’s empowered here, emasculating the men who just want her for her body (is it any surprise she enjoyed this after how she’s been treated in media over the years?) and showing tenderness only to her life-long best friend, Needy (Amanda Seyfried).

The plot here is…odd. But it works. It serves purpose for the film and honestly it felt refreshing. If you don’t know what Jennifer’s body is about, let me give you a quick lowdown;

Needy and Jennifer are life long best friends despite having very little in common. After talking Needy into attending a bar one night to see a band (‘Low Shoulder’ with Adam Brody being a delicious twat as the front man. He’s clearly having a blast and relishing being an ambitious, ruthless prick) but when circumstances separate Jennifer from Needy, she’s used in a cruel sacrifice and emerges the other side a demonic force with a big appetite.

We’ve all known people like Jennifer – possessive and domineering. It’s clear she wants Needy all to herself and doesn’t want to share her with Chip. Needy is compliant, going along with Jennifer’s antics, ignoring the fact that their friendship isn’t healthy. Whilst they’re both the two sides of the social coin (Jennifer is a cheerleader and Needy is more academic) Needy isn’t weak, she quickly challenges Jennifer on her behaviour as soon as the body count begins. She’s smart so reads up on what’s going on and makes a plan to try and catch her out. Jennifer is smart too. She knows how to manipulate people, how to bring them under her heel and how to use them. She understands how the social ladder works and that she’s viewed as a ‘thing’, working it round to her advantage. We’re presented with two strong woman and its so refreshing.

Is one an evil boy eating demon? Yes. But should we judge her for it? No. Not really. The boys she attacks want her for her body. Nothing else. Even poor sweet Colin. I mean killing is wrong, but I’m not going to lie, there was something strangely empowering about the whole thing. She was taking command.

Is it a ‘sexy film’ as I’ve heard so much over the years? In parts, yes. The short moments of intimacy between the two girls are filmed in such a way as to titillate but they also feel like they come from a place of genuine affection. There’s one sex scene in the film between Needy and her boyfriend Chip and honestly I felt like the girls had more chemistry. Sorry Chip.

Jennifer’s Body centres around a relationship, with some disembowelment on the side. That relationship is complex and layered and when the body count starts stacking up, it quickly begins to fall apart. It’s not a high school drama, it’s not a rom-com, but its definitely a horror.

The film is peppered with intensity, subverting expectations and delivering some really good scares. The most horrific scene in the whole film is Jennifer’s sacrifice. Although you don’t see her get killed (we have flash shots of the knife instead) it’s really difficult to watch as she pleads for her life. Damn it Megan Fox is a good actress. More of her, please. There’s plenty of blood and guts for the gore hounds out there and for the most part it’s pretty convincing. There’s some incredibly sinister moments too – Jennifer’s animal like emergence from the woods was downright creepy and a later scene which sees her crouching over a body was very unnerving. The brutality of how she kills isn’t toned down and even a kill which is shown through shadow is kinda sickening. I enjoyed it. It was great.

Now for the one thing that brought it down a little for me; the script. Diablo Cody has a definite writing style. I’m not going to take that away from her but it wasn’t for me. Certain turns of phrase really pulled me out of the film. I’m sure some people love it and that’s great. But suddenly shouting ‘cheese and fries’ actually destroys tension, for me. The ending too (although satisfying) felt a little off. Perhaps because I felt it was a bit too convenient and I felt it could have ended better with the last moments between Needy and Jennifer.

Overall I had a great time with Jennifer’s Body and I’d love to see this actually given its dues. It’s a great film and deserves way more praise than I’ve heard it get over the years. A fun horror with a big appetite and actually quite a lot of heart, I’d definitely recommend it.

Thanks for reading and tomorrow I’ll be donning my goat ears for The Witch.

Rating: 8 out of 10.

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