Monday, October 18, 2010

31 Days of Halloween: Jennifer's Body

Upon its release last year, Jennifer's Body picked up a lot of flack.  It was pretty firmly denounced as being a joke of a film; not scary or grisly enough to earn its horror merit badge, not light enough to be considered a comedy, and (its greatest offense of all) starring Megan Fox.  In putting Jennifer's Body on my Halloween list, you might think I'm admitting a guilty pleasure.  You'd be wrong.  I'm not at all guilty about liking, really liking, the Diablo Cody penned Jennifer's Body.  It is, simply put, spectacularly misunderstood and underrated.  The film's biggest failure, I believe, was all in its marketing.  Studio executives tried to sell it as a thriller, a Megan Fox blood orgy for teenage boys when, in actuality, the film is very specifically made by women (Cody, director Karyn Kusama), for girls.  Jennifer's Body is not all about Megan Fox's body.   It's not even about suspense or gore.  Its title comes from a Hole song, for chist's sake!  What it is about is a very literal, satirical adaptation of the complications and backstabbing of teen girl relationships.  It's all your adolescent angst transformed into violence.  It draws from films like Heathers and Mean Girls but gives you the morally complicated, rather sad carnage of the literal man-eater you love to hate just as much as you hate to love.  While it doesn't execute this perfectly, the attempt is nothing if not entertaining.  Megan Fox does well as complicated, demonically possessed teen bitch Jennifer.  She displays a surprising vulnerability that's brought out of her via an equally likable Amanda Seyfried (as her "needy" normal girl best friend).  This is girl horror, and while it certainly isn't a thriller, it's an absolutely perfect, substantially fun Halloween sleepover movie.  Break out the pixie sticks, the ouija boards and the MASH pads and don't listen to the haters. 

My only real problem with it?  I once wrote a story that I've been wanting to try and adapt into a novel.  It had a similar premise.  Now, I anguish over how exactly to avoid any and all comparisons to Jennifer's Body.  Damn you, Cody.  Damn you.

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