Jennifer’s Body draws inspiration from the days of B-movie horror – the indelible sub-genre that, instead of trying to be good, celebrates its egregiousness.
It is bad on purpose, and it quickly lets you know that.
It is that, and the fact that it takes the hottest woman on the planet right now and covers her with blood for nearly two hours, that makes Jennifer’s Body a smart and ultimately charming bit of schlock horror.
This offering of over-the-top nonsense comes from the brain of scribe Diablo Cody (Juno), whose taste for all things campy makes the script a strong blend of B-movie exploitation and seriously scary horror – and never taking itself too seriously in the process.
The plot centers on Jennifer Check (Megan Fox), the fiery temptress of her high school in the small town of Devil’s Kettle. Clich’eacute; right? It gets better. Jennifer’s also the bombshell of the cheerleading squad, has every boy at her fingertips (take this literally) and has a nerdy, bug-eyed BFF in Needy Lesnicky (a splendid Amanda Seyfried) to make herself feel better when compared to.
Alls well with this, and the town of Devil’s Kettle, until a night out at the local bar, full of horny high-schoolers and 50-plus-year-old alcoholics, goes awry.
Jennifer and Needy hit up the bar to check out Low Shoulder, and more specifically the dreamy lead singer (Adam Brody), a big city band in the shadows of the national spotlight. But when a fire sends the bar up in flames, the band abducts Jennifer, leaving Needy behind to freak out about what is going to happen to her long-time friend.
It turns out that Jennifer’s uncontrollable lust becomes her downfall when the band performs a satanic ritual on her in order to become a successful indie band. The deal – sacrifice the body of a virgin for your wish to come true. The problem ‘- they do not know that Jennifer is not a virgin (not since middle school actually) – and after the sacrifice, Jennifer comes back as demon from hell who devours her male classmates after seducing them. It is up to Needy to save the male populace of the school and take Jennifer down for good.
If Jennifer’s Body ever feels slightly off, it is not because of Cody’s knack for funky teenage lingo and cheese-tastic plotlines, but it is director Karyn Kusama’s (Aeon Flux) inability to consistently balance the crazy script and the moments where we should feel truly frightened or tense.
Still, the dynamic of Needy and Jennifer’s friendship turned rivalry is explosive enough to make the film work. Fox plays the perfect foil to Seyfried’s cutesy, good-girl persona. And believe it or not, Fox has some chops. The film gives her the freedom to show off a cheeky, comedic side that her past roles never allowed her to.
Yes, Fox is a marvel to look at – and the film goes out of its way to make sure you notice that. But Fox does evil well. And sorry guys, but if it takes turning the dream of every high school boy across the country into a man-eating spawn of Satan to prove it, then being bad never has been so good. Grade: B+