Monday, May 14, 2012

Jennifer's Body

Jennifer's Body; horror satire, USA, 2009; D: Karyn Kusama, S: Amanda Seyfried, Megan Fox, Johnny Simmons

Needy is an unpopular teenage girl living in a small provincial town, but has an "ace" in her sleeve - her best friend is the popular cheerleader Jennifer. One evening, after a fire destroys a bar, music band Low Shoulder kidnaps Jennifer in order to sacrifice her to the devil in the forest, mistaking her for a virgin, in order to gain success in exchange. However, since Jennifer is not a virgin, she survives and mutates into a vampire, covertly killing people in the town. When Needy kills her, she is sent to a prison. However, Needy manages to find Low Shoulder members and kill them.

After screenwriter Diablo Cody achieved world success with her first screenplay adapted for the big screens, "Juno", she was given practically a free hand for studios producing her second script, a far more bizarre and difficult to digest story. Despite a brilliant opening line ("Hell is a teenage girl.") and an occasional inspirational humorous monologue ("I am not even a backdoor-virgin anymore."), occult-horror black comedy "Jennifer's Body" is a mess, a disjointed patchwork that otherwise has little in common quality-wise with Cody's excellent debut. Amanda Seyfried and Megan Fox both deliver good performances, the feminist touch is interesting whereas the "Faustian" tangle where an unknown music band decides to sacrifice the (fake) virgin heroine to the devil in exchange for world fame is a surprisingly subversive allegory of modern pop-culture "success at all costs", but "Jennifer's Body" is overall heavy handed, flat and full of cheap scares, in the end turning into an easily watchable, but forced flick where good jokes do not all add to a harmonious whole, but to mending of a distorted story.


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