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Jennifer’s Body: A Bloody, Sexy Time

September 17, 2009

Last weekend, I had the opportunity to attend the Toronto Film Festival. Amidst viewing foreign language art house films (Hadewijch, Making Plans for Lena) and gala premieres of films that will probably be Academy Award nominees (Bright Star, A Serious Man), I decided to give myself a break from the heavy plots and emotional performances– I saw Jennifer’s Body.

Is this film intellectual? No.

Is it controversial? Actually, at times it kind of is, but mostly no.

Is it entertaining? Abso-freaking-lutely.

The premise of the film is that Jennifer (Megan Fox) and Needy (Amanda Seyfried) are complete opposites but have been best friends since grade school. After the two see a band (Adam Brody plays the lead singer) play at a local bar, things get a bid weird. Using film techniques typically found in Japanese horror films, director Karyn Kusama makes sure to evoke a major sense of creepiness when appropriate. There are definitely some tense moments when camera angles are tight close-ups that don’t allow the audience to see what’s happening in the background or when the camera is acting as the eyes of a character. Although most tense moments turn out to be nothing, the fact that Kusama can make the audience feel that uncomfortable is impressive. (Believe me, there are some VERY uncomfortable moments that will make your skin crawl a bit.)

However, it must be noted that this is more than a film about the popular girl turning evil and literally devouring boys. It’s a story of friendship. Jennifer is powerless without Needy’s friendship and support and it is made clear in the film that Needy is aware of when Jennifer is “with” a boy. Kusama explores what it means to feel that connection with someone, because in her estimation, close friendship also means some sort of attraction–which means that there is some serious girl-on-girl action. (Two of the guys that went with me definitely started a slow clap during that specific scene)

With the screenplay written by Diablo Cody, who deftly satirizes teenager vernacular, this film becomes more of a commentary on teenage life than just another teen film. This film channels the themes of Carrie, Heathers,The Craft, and sometimes, Mean Girls and adds to their legacies as another film that proves girls are a) man eaters, b) powerful, c) manipulative, d) very intuitive, and e) should be feared. This show oozes feminism as the director, screenwriter, protagonist, and antagonist are all women–something that is rare in the film industry and especially for horror films.

Although this isn’t the “best” movie that I saw while in Toronto, it was definitely one of the more entertaining films. And let’s face it: you want to see Megan Fox and Amanda Seyfried make out, fight, and get bloody–so go see this bloody, sexy film.

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