Review by Cassam Looch
THE premise and set-up for this smart take on the slasher film genre is tantalising. Aside from the talent involved (Megan Fox playing a very trashy cheerleader and the writing talent behind the wildly popular Juno), you also have a plot which draws you in and has enough going for it to keep you hooked.
It’s only when you look back on it that you realise some of the clever dialogue is used to paper over lulls that would otherwise have ruined the experience.
When two young friends from a sleepy town go to a bar to watch a band they have been following, things take a dangerous turn. Jennifer (Megan Fox) is the gorgeous but shallow cheerleader who has an inexplicable link to her childhood friend, Needy (Seyfried). They are a most unlikely pairing, but still try their best to look out for one another, even though Jennifer rarely has the best of intentions.
The band in question have their eye on Jennifer and when the bar they are at mysteriously burns down Needy watches on helplessly as the cheerleader is driven away in the back of a van by Adam Brody (lead singer of the band). Needy returns home but is disturbed by strange noises later on in the evening…
As the days pass Jennifer’s behaviour becomes all the more bizarre. One minute she’s as high as a kite and looking as stunning as ever, then the next she’s dull and lifeless with a dour look about her.
The mood swings coincide with the disappearance of a number of schoolboys who later turn up horrifically mutilated causing a state of panic to grip the small town. Soon Needy uncovers the horrific truth but can she convince anyone else about Jennifer?
Diablo Cody was bound to meet some backlash to her follow-up film given that her first attempt at screenwriting resulted in an Oscar win. Even though Juno has its numerous fans, personally I found it underwhelming (the script was just too much of a stretch).
However, given the fantasy storyline for this film, in which a possessed demonic cheerleader comes back from the dead, some smart writing was needed… and we get it in spades.
In case you had forgotten the style, it only takes a few minutes for Fox to calmly deliver lines such as: “I’m not even a backdoor virgin thanks to [him], which by the way really hurts. I had to sit on a bag of frozen peas the entire next day.”
The actress appears to relish the role, which sees her playing a hyper-kinetic version of the characters she has portrayed on a regular basis so far in her short career. It’s hard to say she extends herself in anyway, but she also never lets the side down.
Seyfried is also very good as the nerdy best friend. It’s slightly clichéd to have her in this role, but she’s not the complete loser you’d expect to find in the genre, having a boyfriend and life of her own.
Things appear to be heading to a bloody and climatic resolution but when it arrives you kind of wonder if it was worth it. It’s not bad but feels cut and rushed with the final payoff also failing to spark. The cleverly constructed set-up seems to be jettisoned for a quick and undercooked finale.
It’s a shame because the film promised much more… and for the most part deserved better as well.
UK DVD & Blu-ray Release: February 22, 2010
- Buy it on DVD (Amazon)
- Buy it on Blu-ray (Amazon)
- Jennifer's Body Gallery
- Read our review of the soundtrack