Scary Movie Review: Jennifer’s Body (2009)

The past few years I’ve celebrated Halloween by watching and reviewing a bunch of scary movies.  This year I’m going to try to review one movie a day for the month of October.  I can’t make any promises that I’ll actually get to 31, but I’ll do as many as I can.  

Title: Jennifer’s Body
Release Date: September 18, 2009
Director: Karyn Kusama
Production Company: Fox Atomic | Dune Entertainment

Jennifer’s Body explores the toxicity of teenage girls accommodating misogynistic societal expectations through a comedic horror story about demonic possession.  Kind of like Mean Girls, but with cannibalism.  Nerdy teen Anita Lesnicki, with the on-the-nose nickname  of “Needy” (Amanda Seyfried) is the unlikely lifelong friend of cheerleader Jennifer Check (Megan Fox) although there’s a clear power imbalance in the relationship. After a night out at a gig at a roadside bar ends in disaster, Jennifer is abducted by the band to be sacrificed in a demonic ritual that will help them get a hit record. The ceremony goes wrong, however, and instead Jennifer is possessed by a demon and must feed on boys to survive.

I expected this movie to be really graphic, but while there is some gore I feel the worst violence happens off screen and there’s no nudity at all. A significant scene in the movie is inspired by The Station nightclub fire in Rhode Island, and since I have a phobia regarding fires and crowd crushes, I found it a lot more disturbing than any of the demonic stuff. I also didn’t expect the quirky humor that makes the movie so quotable, although Jennifer especially uses a lot of strange slang.  It remind me of the controversy over the film Juno about how “teenagers don’t talk like that.”  Later, I learned that Diablo Cody wrote the screenplays for both Juno and Jennifer’s Body and that her dialogue style is very polarizing among movie viewers.

Overall, it’s an entertaining film, and the performances by Fox and especially Seyfried.  But I think the pacing is uneven and the tonal shifts between horror and comedy aren’t well-balanced.  I feel the satire juuuust misses the mark for me and thus the movie fall short of being as good as it could be.

Rating: **1/2