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May 2010

Jennifer's Body

cast: Megan Fox, Amanda Seyfried, Johnny Simmons, Adam Brody, and Sal Cortez

director: Karyn Kusama

98 minutes (15) 2009
widescreen ratio 1.85:1
20th Century Fox
blu-ray region B retail

RATING: 3/10
review by Donald Morefield

Jennifer's Body

"Hell is a teenage girl," opines the somewhat unreliable narrator of this horror film. Well, no... but all teens are, like, just big sacks of hormones, yeah? Jennifer Check (Megan Fox, Transformers, How To Lose Friends & Alienate People) is a high school cheerleader who's all sass until she becomes a succubus after her murder by Satanists that botch their ceremonial sacrifice. Needy (Amanda Seyfried, clearly a better actress than her more famous co-star) is Jennifer's best friend and confidant, but they fall out over Needy's boyfriend, whose name is Chip (Johnny Simmons). Needy and Chip or Chip and Needy� think about that for one second. Ah! This is not a flick to be taken seriously at all. It's a comedy shocker, where jokes are mainly in genre spoof mode, and only the slickness of gory splatter effects work ensures it's sufficiently gruesome for classification as horror.

In the small town of Devil's Kettle (named after a nearby waterfall that disappears into a sinkhole), Jennifer and Needy attend a gig to see indie band Low Shoulder. The bar is burned to the ground, but the girls escape, and reckless Jennifer leaves with the band� She's never to be seen 'alive' again, but returns to school driven by lust for blood. Soon, "some sicko is eating boys" and the streets are no longer safe at night, due to 'freaktarded' murders, but a school dance is looming on the social calendar - just when shy Needy and charmless Chip have overcome their pathetic awkwardness of 'young romance' and started arguing properly about relationship issues. With evil Jenny on the rampage, and poor Chip next in line for a terminal seduction, Needy must race to rescue her beau, and face the dire consequences of destroying a monster...

Karyn Kusama made boxing drama Girlfight (2000), which made a star of Michelle Rodriguez, and sci-fi actioner Æon Flux (2005), which - charitably - gave Charlize Theron something to do in skin-tight outfits, when she wasn't actually pursuing her Hollywood acting career. Regrettably, Jennifer's Body is a formula piece, lacking any outrageously weird, compellingly scary, or genuinely hilarious moments which might have lifted the material above standard fare. It's constructed with blatant, crowd-pleasing scenes like a lesbian snog tease, but only a few desperately eneacted quirks (as when possessed Jenny's bitch-in-heat attacks on schoolboys attracts wildlife to her presence) to distinguish it from other teen slasher horrors lined up on DVD rental-shop shelves.



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