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Jennifer's Body | movie review

It's really more her teeth that you should worry about...

 

Movie summary: A newly-possessed high-school cheerleader turns into a succubus who specializes in killing her male classmates. Can her best friend put an end to the horror? (IMDb)


Slaughtered on release and having had something of a re-evaluation of its quality in recent years, I had no idea what to expect of Jennifer's Body going into it. Somehow, I found myself both pleasantly surprised and yet also a little disappointed by the end of it - it's enjoyable enough to sit through thanks to the performances, but it all feels a little bit lightweight.


First things first, I do want to single out Megan Fox for praise as she is truly excellent as Jennifer. While well-made, the movie is a bit muddled in what it seems to be aiming for overall, but Fox more than delivers whatever the current scene demands of her and I wish we'd got to see her in more stuff since after watching this.


Almost as good is Amanda Seyfried as Anita, known to all as Needy, but I've liked Seyfried for a while as a performer so it's not as much of a surprise that she's as enjoyable to watch here as I would expect. She dresses down a lot in this movie, which doesn't really work as Seyfried is obviously gorgeous, but I do want to point out that this isn't a fault of Jennifer's Body, but something deliberately done by the character due to the toxic influence of Jennifer in her life.


I do remember the marketing for this movie highlighting Fox's looks as the main selling point, and it's also come to be seen as something of a rape-revenge fantasy since, but I honestly think it's more of an allegory for someone coming to realise that someone close to them is actually a negative influence on their life, not the person they thought they were and ultimately cutting them out and becoming stronger because of it.


I could say 'spoilers!' for that last sentence as that pretty much does describe what happens between Jennifer and Needy in the movie, but Jennifer's Body is a monster/horror movie so it plays out very differently to the same events happening in a regular drama. The biggest problem this movie has is that it never seems to decide how it wants to tell the story.


There's humour, sexiness and buckets of blood, but rather than blending these elements together too well, it's like each scene is either supposed to be funny, sexy or scary and the constant shifts in tone mean that they almost cancel each other out/undercut each other. When you think about how many times Buffy the Vampire Slayer could combine all these things into many, many separate episodes, it feels especially disappointing here.


It doesn't ruin the movie though, just makes it something that I might watch again in the future if it's on TV, but not something I'd ever seek out for a second viewing. Jennifer's Body is worth watching for Fox and Seyfried's performances alone - and their fantastic chemistry with each other - so you won't be wasting your time watching it if you want something simple and spooky for Halloween.


Jennifer's Body is a well-made and very well-performed movie that is otherwise somewhat underwhelming thanks to the story's inability to find a tone and keep to it. This mish-mash leaves the film feeling like fast food in a fashion - enjoyable, but empty and leaving you craving something more substantial afterwards. It's a shame though, as Megan Fox is truly excellent here and I wish the rest of the film lived up to her performance.

[6/10 - Decent]

 

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