Written by: Diablo Cody
Starring: Megan Fox. Amanda Seyfried, Johnny Simmons, J. K. Simmons, Amy Sedaris, Adam Brody
The importance of marketing a film to audiences cannot be questioned, as it sets the expectation for what can be expected and it would be difficult to find a film more misunderstood in its promotion than Jennifer’s Body. A feature sold to the very audiences it wanted to poke fun at when in reality this film serves as one of the more aggressive modern feminist movies and delivered in such a deliriously entertaining tone throughout.
In the small town of Devil’s Kettle, high schoolers Needy (Amanda Seyfried) and Jennifer (Megan Fox) decide to go out to the local bar to see an indie band perform. When a massive fire erupts, becoming the talk of the town, Needy finds Jennifer covered in blood and acting strangely in a way she has never seen before.
Poking fun at so many aspects of how boys and men see and try to use girls sits right at the forefront of the way Jennifer’s Body seeks to skewer the perspectives of misogyny. This only makes it all the more hilarious that this got sold as a film for teenage boys and men to gawk at Megan Fox. Having Fox headline the film works as a trap in both facets here for the characters and the audience members thinking they’re in for something different than what ultimately gets delivered here. Considering where Fox’s perception lied at the time, it serves as pitch-perfect casting and she definitely took the opportunity to eat this role much like she does the boys in this feature.
Literally every word uttered by Megan Fox from the hilarious script provided by Diablo Cody can be considered iconic. So many of them are quotable as well in the way they break down the thesis of this feature and what it represents. From “hell is a teenage girl” to “No. I’m killing boys,” it’s just pure perfection. Fox delivers these lines in an infantile manner, which typically gets associated with a woman who remains submissive to the males around her, but as the feature demonstrates, Fox’s Jennifer would love nothing more than to be underestimated. If anything, that makes her hungrier in quenching her hunger to retain her fabulous good looks. Again, Megan Fox, even years later, just serves as the perfect casting in both on the level of the feature but the larger look of how she has been underappreciated as an actor. The re-examination of the feature has served her well and rightfully so.
When you break down the events of this feature, it remains a truly silly story, especially when learning what the indie band, Low Shoulder led by Nikolia (Adam Brody), do to Jennifer in order to launch their career. Everything in the feature works as a way of poking fun at the societal aspects of how men treat women but the tone remains consistent throughout. Heck, you even have someone as gorgeous as Amanda Seyfried spoken of as she’s some awkward nerd simply because they put some glasses on her. Even when Jennifer appears at her most dangerous, her line delivery and content do not change, because the film does not get scared off from going all the way with the tone it wants to run with. Other films would have changed course, but this demonstrates a level of bravery by both Diablo Cody in her script and Karyn Kusama, who brings this story to life in a visual sense.
As a horror feature, the horrors and thrills of the film definitely also carry some weight on top of the commentary this feature wants to imbue as well. The unsettling look of Jennifer when on the prowl contradicts the nearly perfect image she seeks to portray. Those moments come interspersed, but the moments in which they land, it leaves such a discernible impact on the tension the film also wants to build. An apt story for Karyn Kusama to take on, as she continues to provide her proficiency in working in horror tales. Her partnership with the other women of the feature makes this such a fun ride.
Incredibly sharp in its commentary but also a wonderfully fun experience to see how all aspects of this feature seek to tease the audience and the very characters in the story, Jennifer’s Body will only continue to age well. One of the finest pieces of casting in recent years and the way it all comes together shows the power of women and how Jennifer’s impact has lasted so long since its rather unappreciated release. Such an enjoyable experience and one that gets better with each additional viewing.