Starring: Megan Fox, Amanda Seyfried, Johnny Simmons
Director: Karyn Kusama
Running Time: 102 mins
Jennifer’s Body is an American film about a high school cheerleader who begins luring in her male classmates and eating them to sustain her newly-possessed form after escaping with her life from a devastating disaster.
Jennifer’s Body feels like a movie with a really bright spark of creativity beneath the surface, but one that never manages to let it out. Though it seems to hint at some riveting and thrilling ideas, Jennifer’s Body is for the most part a generic teen horror, wholly missing the mark in its attempts to provide good scares, dark comedy and thought-provoking themes.
I’m going to start with the last of those three elements, because you might be thinking that this film would never be meant to have any thought-provoking themes. Surely, it’s just a stupid teen horror movie, and that’s it.
To me, it seems that Jennifer’s Body has too much talent behind it to believe that it’s just another piece of horror plastic. With A-list actresses like Amanda Seyfried and Megan Fox in the lead roles, and above all Destroyer director Karyn Kusama behind the camera, this film has all the potential to be something more.
And it’s not just my expectations of that talent, but the film’s own attempts to craft a more dramatic, thematically rich story. In between the darkly comic killings and Megan Fox’s hyper-stylised performance, Jennifer’s Body actually focuses heavily on the inner turmoil of Amanda Seyfried’s character, a young woman struggling horrifically with trauma, a loss of faith in her friend and teenage anguish all at once.
If Jennifer’s Body had just moved the attention away from Megan Fox’s seductively evil succubus to Amanda Seyfried’s far more riveting character, then it could have delivered the gripping themes it wanted while simultaneously offering up some good scares and dark comedy.
I certainly can’t fault the film in its ability to craft a rather unnerving atmosphere, and although there’s never anything particularly frightening about it, there are moments when Megan Fox’s seemingly indestructible character is quite the formidable on-screen force.
As a horror movie, Jennifer’s Body does give in too easily to the allure of CGI and special effects when leaving a little up to the viewers’ imagination could have made such a difference. Why that turned out to be the case, I don’t know, but the movie just feels too much like a lazy cash grab when it could have been so much more.
Likewise, the film’s attempts at dark comedy are generally underwhelming. The overarching arc of the story finds itself caught between some sharp comic ideas and a little too much fantasy and horror mumbo-jumbo, the latter of which unfortunately takes precedence too much of the time.
As a result, Jennifer’s Body proves to be neither funny, nor scary, nor thought-provoking. It does have its strengths, namely in the performances, atmosphere and underlying ideas, but the film fails to execute them effectively. So, that’s why I’m giving Jennifer’s Body a 6.9 overall.