Sunday, October 17, 2010

2010 Geek Fright Fest: Jennifer's Body

Jennifer's Body (2009)
Rated R (for violence, gore, sexuality, and language)

Directed by Karen Kusama

Amanda Seyfried
Megan Fox
Adam Brody
Johnny Simmons

Jennifer's Body is a horror-comedy written by Diablo Cody (famous for writing Juno) that combines the suckage of being unpopular in high school with the terror of interacting with a demon. At the start of the film, Anita "Needy" Lesnicki (Amanda Seyfried) is a dangerous prisoner in a psychiatric facility. She flashes back to when she was a regular high school student and best friends with the most popular girl in school, Jennifer Check (Megan Fox). Needy has a boyfriend, Chip (Johnny Simmons), but is jealous of the attention Jennifer receives from the boys at school. After surviving a traumatic event, the two girls get separated and the next time Needy sees Jennifer, she knows something is seriously wrong. The boys in town start dying, and it is up to Needy to save everyone she loves from her best friend.

After the success of Juno, many critics felt that this flick was a let-down. It does try a little bit to hard to be hip and John Hughes-esque, but where it succeeds is in pairing biting wit and satire with horror elements. (Think of it as a horror movie version of Mean Girls . . . or an even darker Heathers, if you're old school.) The genius in this film is that it explores the experiences every high school girl goes through (insecurity, dealing with backstabbing chicks, finding a boyfriend, and the like), but with a horror sub-plot. The best part of this flick? There are some really funny moments. My favorite was the reccurance of a lame indie song (one that Needy hates with a passion) that her town has taken on as its anthem.

While I am not usually a fan of Fox's, I can honestly say I can't imagine anyone else in this role. She was the perfect bitchy popular girl turned demon, and she worked this part, even when she was supposed to look ugly. While the film's publicity campaign centered around seductive pictures of Fox (mouth dripping blood), Seyfried is the true star. In the regular world, she is a very beautiful girl, but she played insecure, nerdy girl beautifully. She gives a brilliant sarcastic performance in this flick, a refreshing change among some of her more sweet and sappy roles. Without Seyfried's portrayal (and Cody's witty dialogue), this would have been a middling hipster horror movie.

Fright Rating: 2 1/2 gasps out of a possible five

This film is more about the wit than the scares, but there are a few seriously violent/gross scenes. Worth the watch for a different take on horror, but definitely not for kids.

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