Saturday, November 29, 2014
JENNIFER'S BODY (2009)
Directed By: Karyn Kusama
Written By: Diablo Cody
Cinematography By: M. David Wallen
Editor: Plummy Tucker
Cast: Megan Fox, Amanda Seyfried, Johnny Simmons, Adam Brody, J.K. Simmons, Amy Sedaris, Cynthia Stevenson, Chris Pratt, Kyle Gallner, Bill Fagerbakke
Nerdy, reserved bookworm Needy Lesnicki, and arrogant, conceited cheerleader Jennifer Check are best friends, though they share little in common. They share even less in common when Jennifer mysteriously gains an appetite for human blood after a disastrous fire at a local bar. As Needy's male classmates are steadily killed in gruesome attacks, the young girl must uncover the truth behind her friend's transformation and find a way to stop the bloodthirsty rampage before it reaches her own boyfriend Chip.
The title describes the film and was also a song by Courtney love's band HOLE.
This is a horror film made more for a female audience but advertised more for men. Linking their favorite subjects girls, sex and violence. Ok more a teenage boy audience go believe they will get to see nudity as the promotion of the film is highly sexualized. Though thy only get teases of it in the actual film. Just as the trailer made them believe there would be girl on girl sexual action. No just girl on girl ACTION. Again it feels like a tease that was marketed to the wrong audience. As for some makes might feel like the film or at least it's advertisements are a tease to get you to watch with no payoff. Except an extended kissing Scene between the two female leads. For no real reason but I guess to keep the audience to pay attention?
The film does have it's moments and little details that are original and make the film seem creative. It should have been better as at the time it seemed to have everything going for it. A hot of the moment screenwriter who had just won an Oscar, The most popular up and comer starring Megan Fox, yet it all seemed to go wrong by a few degrees.
Maybe the problem is that Jennifer doesn't deserve her fate, but she is the girl you love to hate before she gets possessed. The type who keeps her best friend who has more going for her as far as smarts, personality and looks if she cared about it as much. insecure to make herself look and feel better. Like Rachel McAdams in MEAN GIRLS, bit then tries to seem totally sincere so it’s hard to like her which is why we are on Needy's it's side the whole time.
The sacrifice scene of Jennifer's murder plays more like a rape scene. That is very unsettling and feels a bit too realistic for a film that is more humorous. Though it does make you feel a loss. Witnessing the brutality of the scene really affects you. That the film uses to it's advantage there and later as we keep in mind that she is a victim through all of this no matter her behavior. If the film had used that point a bit more. It really could have been revolutionary for the film.
So it seems like a misdirected supernatural revenge film against the men who killed her. She figures to lump them all in together. As she begins to massacre anyone who she feels would exploit or use her. Though most of her victims seem more innocent. Who just can't believe their luck. Especially as before she becomes possessed she seems shallow and vapid. I guess as a typical teenage beauty. Though she doesn't deserve her fate no one does.
The film shows that Megan Fox is either limited as an actress or not quite ready for leading roles that require too much of her, with this film I feel like it's the too fast too soon star syndrome. Just as it seems was happening with Scarlett Johansson who grew into her leading roles after being thrust into them too fast. Though this was Ms. Fox’s first and so far only truly lead role. Luckily she is the monster and not the protagonist. Though her looks work out well for the role. It's the rest of her that is weak. Though maybe the way in which she is supposed to be leads her to be so stiff. She eventually improves in other more comedic roles.
If the film would have played up more of the comedy aspects as been more campy with it’s humor and crazy storyline, the film would have been more entertaining an been successful. Which the material seems better suited for. The problem is the film takes itself and the material way too seriously making It suspenseful, then when a joke comes in it feels like it is out of nowhere. It just throws the film off like it's working on a imbalance.
This film is sort if a feminist horror film or skewed more towards girls for once. Which is commendable and we should see more of these types this film In Particular goes well with films like GRACE.
Only this time the film is actually directed by a woman. This is a mini comeback for director Karyn Kusama after the abysmal AEON FLUX there was nowhere to go but to improve while this isn't a homerun. She is at least trying hopefully she will find the right material and nice to bring her back to the majesty of films like GIRLFIGHT especially since most of her films concern a strong female protagonist and presence. It seems like Director Karyn Kusama can't get her groove back after the great debut GIRLFIGHT this film coming after AEON FLUX was supposed to be her comeback and the film meant to resemble small own middle America feels more like sets an dreary more than it should.
The filmmakers considered actual rock stars like Pete Wentz and Joel Madden for the role of musician Nikolai. The role eventually went to Adam Brody.
In this film Amanda Seyfried is the lead and starts out as the nerdy girl and becomes stronger as she comes to the realization she might have to challenge or kill her best friend. She becomes more responsible and tougher. She actually is heroic and a good role model type Character.
The story line is thin and really goes nowhere. So to
stay away from being repetitive it adds in some satire and social commentary, lite examples of it. Though the film doesn't really work as satire not exactly as horror it has elements of each bit never fully commits so you wonder what exactly you are watching.
The film is a nice attempt but doesn't work exactly maybe of it just tried to be a little more simple. Even though the film has no real mystery as everything is blatant. So t never achieves being scary. After a certain point or becomes cut and dry when a little explanation would have been appreciated.
I like the fact that Megan fox's character was never really truly good in the first place, but she at least had some innocence before the transformation.
The failure of the movie is that at the time of it's release. You had one of the most recognized sexy starlets in the world and you sell the movie on her sex appeal and hoping onshore her range and while in the movie her looks help her lure her victims. The films advertisement seems to advertise more like nudity and sex scenes, at least those type of situations and you watch the film waiting for them to arrive and they never do. Leaving the audience disappointed. Jennifer and Needy were originally going to have a sex scene in the film. There was no makeout scene between Needy and Jennifer in the original script.
Megan Fox who clearly looks too old to be a high school student gives an ok performance that she looks perfect for but lacks the depth he is good at one liners but that's about it. Hard to feel any sympathy for her. it doesn't help that this is a role that she doesn’t seem like she was ready to play yet. Especially a lead character. She seems to have chosen the role due to the offer and a chance to seemingly use her looks by show her talent. Letting her really play a role and not just be sex appeal or the film or a model in the space of a character.
To prepare for her role as a possessed living-dead teenager, Megan Fox lost around 15 lbs, bringing her weight down to a near-frail 97 lbs, and stayed out of the sun.
This is a film that seemed perfect on paper and should have worked. Yet it continuously feels lost and like it is missing something. It might try to play itself more earnestly as it seeks to be a feminist statement and using sexist cliches to it's advantage to tell it's story that leads to the film to feel misguided and necessarily put two females former best friends against one another as the good one seems to be the only one to notice dangerous and obvious changes that every other character turns a blind eye to the obvious. The film also seems to bog itself down into rituals and mythology instead of simple possession and while it promises exploitation it tries to send a message which turns itself on it's head and against the expectant audience. While ambitious and I can applaud that it also feels like a cop out or a tease more than a statement.
While the screenplay is ambitious it also seems to think it's smarter than it is and plays more at trying to be hip yet deep when it just feels shallow and manipulative at times.
According to the original script, Needy was not supposed to be seen killing the band members of Low Shoulder. The script ended with Needy retrieving the Bowie knife and riding away with the driver who picked her up. This leads to the speculation that the writer originally intended to allow viewers make predictions for themselves to what happened afterwards.
Which doesn't mean there aren't things to like in the film. It just all adds up to a disappointment that I was really hoping would be good. A different take on horror from a female point of view for once.