JENNIFER'S BODY (UNRATED)
Reviewed by: Zombie Boy
What's it about
Needy and Jenniferís friendship is put to the test when Jennifer is possessed by a demon and requires live human flesh to maintain her beauty.
Is it good movie?
Hell is a teenaged girl. Or so says Anita (otherwise known as Needy) at the beginning of Jenniferís Body. And she should know, since her best friend Jennifer has been inhabited by a carnivorous demon who can only be appeased by live human flesh. Live scared human flesh. Without it, Jenniferís beauty deteriorates and she becomes weaker; but with it, her friendship with Needy deteriorates, as does the population of Devilís Kettle, a small Midwest town named after the seemingly bottomless waterfall it was built around. As the town attempts to come to grips with the cannibalistic serial killer haunting their town, Needy must come to grips with the fact that her friend is not who she once was and that she may be the only person who can stop the carnage.
It is a popular pastime in the film geek world to hate on both Diablo Cody and Megan Fox, but the fact of the matter is this is an excellent horror film. It has a light comedic element, sort of in the same vein as Idle Hands, but when it comes to the horror aspect it is straight-up. The scene where Jennifer is slurping blood out of the hole she put in a dudeís corpse is played for chills, and gets them. The script is purposefully light on dialogue, and Fox is called upon to pull double-duty to portray both a vengeful, predatory demon and a bubble-headed ditz that essentially lampoons the person most people think she is in real life. Amanda Seyfried steals the film, however, as Jenniferís best friend-turned-arch nemesis. She displays an impressive range of emotions, and spits out an F-bomb like nobodyís business. Johnny Simmons is also wonderful as Chip, Needyís worshipful boyfriend.
The key point to the success of the film, though, has to be laid at the feet of director Karyn Kusama. Her body of work is limited, but in this instance she inherently understood the complexities of the script that someone else, especially a male director, probably would not have. She handles the shifting relationships of Jennifer, Needy, and Chip with a deft hand, and her placement of the camera and eye for color and shot-blocking are inspired. The film moves along at a brisk pace and is always visually interesting. The humor and the horror were written into the script, but were truly brought to life by the direction, if youíll pardon the pun. This is basically a popcorn film, but one that satisfies more than most.
Video / Audio
Video: Widescreen, 1.85:1. The transfer is rich and warm, which is a nice change of pace from most horror films, which either go for too dark or bleached out.
Audio 5.1 Dolby Digital in English, Dolby Surround in French and Spanish, with optional Spanish subtitles and English subtitles for the deaf and hearing impaired. A good sound system is a must for this film, as it places heavy value on itís soundtrack and musical cues.
First off, the disc comes with both the theatrical version and an extended cut, with a difference of about five minutes. It isnít much, but the restored bits are all nice subtleties, as well as a few of the scenes being in different order.
Commentaries: There are two commentaries. The first one has director Kumara and writer Cody commentating on the entire film. It starts a little wobbly with some spots of dead air, but it is worth it to keep listening until it picks up. There are some interesting tidbits of trivia about the film, and it is also just fun to listen to the frankness and humor of the conversation. The second commentary is Kumara solo, commentating solely on the scenes affected by the directorís cut. It runs about thirty minutes, and is also very interesting.
Trailers: 500 Days of Summer; Something Something Something Darkside (a Family Guy Stars Wars parody); Feed Your Fear (which appears to be an advertisement for a website); Wrong Turn 3: Left for Dead. There are also a few forced trailers at the beginning: Gentlemen Broncos; All About Steve; Whip It; and Fame.
Defying all logic, I quite enjoyed this movie. It is well-scripted, well-crafted, and well-acted. It has crisp dialogue, plenty of black humor, and honestly unsettling scenes of horror. It uses the platform of torn-open bodies to examine the insecurities of teenaged girls, and succeeds in injected genuine human drama into the demonic proceedings. I recommend it without hesitation.