Jennifer's Body

Title: Jennifer's Body
Rating: 2/5
Genre: Horror (Comedy)
Starring: Amanda Seyfried, Megan Fox
Director: Karyn Kusama

A film I've meant to look into for a while, Jennifer's Body is undoubtedly a bad film, but it's a special kind of bad film. It's not just a “B-Movie with a budget,” it's one designed to exploit a young starlet – in this case Megan Fox – and laugh at her endlessly as they ask her to actually act and not just stand next to something and bend over whilst a CGI explosion happens in the background. It's an exploitation piece of a different variety; a cruel and elaborate practical joke to be played on her for the whole world to see, the likes of which I haven't seen since someone asked Paris Hilton to make a slasher flick (I am of course referring to “House of Wax,” which got publicity just because people got to see her die). Unfortunately I really should have looked at this a little closer, because whilst the writer seems to realise what a joke looks like, the director – whose last great accomplishment was the atrocity of “Aeon Flux” – doesn't seem to have got the memo. What should have been a special kind of bad instead is just a special kind of awful.

Even the plot is fundamentally, if not flawed then merely retarded. Set in a backwards town called devils kettle, A girl, after learning a band want to rape her, willingly goes off with them in their van to the middle of nowhere, whilst her best friend does nothing, and you know what they do? Possess her with a demon. Well, there might have been some gang rape in there too but mostly just possession. Then the fact that the only girl one stroke shy of cackling at the horrific murders that take place never comes under suspicion just seems silly. She actually comes right out and says it and nobody bats an eyelid, though at least finally our lead thinks something might be up. So much of the film from here on out seems to revolve around Jennifer, her possession, and as the name suggests, her body. Slowly it will build up to a little gore – nothing really special mind – all the whilst she performs minor stripteases that never actually show a damn thing. A B-movie horror that hints at nudity and then snatches it away again? That's just plain wrong, but an entire film revolving around a woman's cleavage without payoff is simply taking it too far.

The sound should bear the brunt of my criticism and I sincerely hope whoever was responsible here was fired and gets a job flipping burgers. Just not my burgers, because he'd probably screw that up too. It was so badly done I thought my sound system was to blame, and after 30 minutes of fiddling I realised that no, it really does sound that muddy, as though portions were recorded using a Dictaphone. After wondering if it was the DVD in my possession, I downloaded another copy, and no, it really is the film. If the sound is bad enough that I can't believe it, then it's pretty freakin' bad. The cast will so often mumble incomprehensibly, perhaps as was demanded by the script, and you wont hear a good portion of whats said (I ended up turning on the subtitles!) Which is often for the best seeing as the dialogue is not just cheesy but disconnected, feeding lines to its cast a generation older than those they're playing by what sounds like that weird uncle everyone has in their family still 'trying to be hip' and be 'down with the kids.' [1]

There are non sequitur lines like 'teenage girl is hell,' 'you're so salty, like soy sauce' and 'he was thin and twisted, like a tree...' Nobody is likeable, our leads consist of a giggling popular whore and a nerd who wades in her wake of acceptance pretending to be like her, mimicking her, just so she can fit in. Characters are given hooks for hands for absolutely no reason, and there is constant talk of love between the nerd and her boyfriend, perhaps the only truly likeable character there is, but it's referred to in a way that makes you want to yell 'your playing a 16 year old! You know love like a hamster knows quantum physics!' There is of course nothing resembling intelligence, tension or atmosphere – though I do appreciate the look of some of the sets that were used – and much of the plot feels slow paced and unenthused, though I'm unsure where to place the blame for this.

In fact the list of stuff it has going for it is pretty thin; the two leads are at the very least attractive, Seyfried holds up her end of the acting with at least some success, actually displaying emotions in a way that doesn't end up in a mental guessing game (plus Megan Fox makes her look REALLY good in this by comparison). Some of the effects, notably the character make up during the horror sequences, is also done fairly well but there's so much emphasis on the CGI; vomiting what looks like crude oil exorcist style and gratuitous displays of 'look I can heal myself' that make absolutely no sense, and this sort of pointless effects work happens a few times, but ultimately it all could have been a lot worse. It does succeed in showing the world what we already knew: that Megan Fox is a talentless bimbo, it exploits her successfully and throws in a couple of jokes but it's brought down by a plot that's just a touch too retarded, and technical issues that should never see its way to a film, especially in the age of digital recording.

[1] That's get down with the kids. Not go down on the kids. You're sick.
[2] Doesn't Megan Fox look like Eliza Dushku in the above photo?


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