31 Days of Horror: ‘Jennifer’s Body’

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PrintEveryone has had that one friendship that they cling to long after they have outgrown it. That love that starts in the sandbox and somehow blinds a person to the faults in a person who has grown up to be a less than stellar friend. Jennifer’s Body, at its heart, is a film about what happens when that friendship turns truly toxic.

Directed by Karyn Kusama and written by Diablo Cody, Jennifer’s Body stars Megan Fox as the titular Jennifer and Amanda Seyfried as the friend who can’t seem to see how awful her friend is until it is too late. After disappearing with a fame­hungry band fronted by Adam Brody following a deadly fire at their small town’s local watering hole, Jennifer isn’t quite the same. Her friend, Needy, knows something is wrong, but can’t seem to put her finger on it. Even as boys start dying in a gruesome fashion, Needy is unable to make the connection between their deaths and her man­eating friend.

Megan Fox is at her breathy­voiced best as the fairly racist, homophobic, and generally awful Jennifer. It’s fun to watch her as this cringingly terrible (sort of) human being. Amanda Seyfried’s character suffers a bit from “let’s throw glasses and messy hair on a pretty girl and pretend she’s a nerd” syndrome. The cast is filled with wonderful (though terribly underutilized) actors like Bill Fagerbakke, J.K. Simmons, and a pre­Parks and Rec Chris Pratt. Diablo Cody still has the annoying habit of trying to invent slang to make her teenaged characters sound ultra­hip. It feels grating and forced at time, but works on the annoying Jennifer.

The film is smart and rides that perfect border of self­awareness and seriousness. Its true strength lies in the examination of toxic female friendships. Even before the change, Jennifer is controlling, insecure, and a wretched friend. She hits on her best friend’s boyfriend, tells her she can’t show cleavage, and makes it clear that she’s so much cooler than Needy. This makes it incredibly satisfying as the two girls ultimately square off. It’s not a particularly scary film – unless you find Megan Fox terrifying – but it’s funny with a decent pop punk/emo soundtrack. It’s a great way to get into spirit of Halloween.

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