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Review: Jennifer’s Body (2008)

Jennifer’s Body (2008)

Directed by: Karyn Kusama

Premise: A high school cheerleader (Megan Fox) is murdered in a pseudo-satanic ritual and turns into a boy-eating demon. Her best friend (Amanda Seyfried) must uncover the truth and save her boyfriend.

What Works: The opening of the picture works well in capturing the uneven power dynamic between Seyfried and Fox’s characters.

What Doesn’t: Jennifer’s Body goes south very fast in a mishmash of horror and comedy. The film makes gross shifts in tone, often in the same scene, as campy jokes in the dialogue are juxtaposed with gory violence. These things do not meld together very well, such as in an early scene in which the main characters make jokes in the foreground while people burn to death in the background. Humor and horror can work together–as they do in Scream, Evil Dead 2, or Hostel Part II–if they lean on each other, but in Jennifer’s Body the jokes and violence cancel each other out. The film has some basic narrative problems. Once Megan Fox’s character has become a demon, the film meanders along. Amanda Seyfried is a good actress but the film does not give her character anything to do. There is no apparent goal for the lead character to accomplish or a coherent obstacle for her to overcome. There appears to be a deliberate attempt to play with genre clichés but the film does not go far enough; it removes the clichés but does not replace them with anything else and so the story has no rising action but just repeats scenes of Fox’s character seducing and feeding on teenage boys while Seyfried’s character hangs out with her boyfriend, oblivious to what is going on. Jennifer’s Body is not very well shot either; the scenes are not staged very well and the action of the stalk and attack sequences are poorly executed and don’t contain much suspense.

Bottom Line: Jennifer’s Body is a big disappointment, especially given the talents involved. The film isn’t very scary and when it tries to foil or play with genre clichés it gets lost finding something to replace them with.

Episode: #257 (September 27, 2008)