When I put the DVD for Jennifer’s Body (directed by Karyn Kusama) in the player and settled in to watch it, I was fully prepared for a terrible movie. This was because of the few reviews I’d read and general attitude regarding this film as a truly Bad Movie. I should’ve known better, from past experience, than to pay attention to the bad reviews: this was awesome.
I’ve since read this has become somewhat of a cult classic, but I haven’t read extensively enough to know if this is true. I did read some good reviews on letterboxd after I watched it, including this one that seemed to capture exactly how I felt about the film as I was watching it. One of the things I noticed, as highlighted in the linked review, is the strong theme of (female) friendship, something I wasn’t expecting at all. This isn’t a typical teen horror flick and maybe that’s why it got so many bad reviews. It’s made more for (and by) girls and women and that made it pretty refreshing to watch.
Cody’s script is a little weak at some points, I won’t deny that, but these characters – particularly Jennifer and Needy – are so well-written and so much more than the typical ‘nerd’ and ‘slut’ stereotypes they could easily be. Megan Fox and Amanda Seyfried are brilliant in fleshing out the roles created by Cody in her script.
It’s very well directed by Kusama and beautifully photographed, too. There are some really lovely shots in this film and the gorgeous colours are rarely seen in horror.
I don’t think it was quite as subversive or feminist as it set out to be and this is largely because of the competitive undercurrent in Jennifer and Needy’s friendship as well as some parts of the ending. It’s a pity it didn’t take it’s subversion further but no film is perfect and I still thoroughly enjoyed Jennifer’s Body.
When I noticed there was a theatrical cut and an extended cut, I spent about five minutes agonising over which to watch. I went for the theatrical in the end because I like watching films as they were released initially for my first watch but I’ll definitely be watching the extended cut at some point.
On the subject of Kusama’s films, I also watched Æon Flux which I didn’t think was terrible, either. I’ve never watched the cartoon/animated series, which could have something to do with it but I don’t think it deserves the vitriol it receives. It was a little difficult to follow and the characters could seem shallow, I suppose, but it was very striking.
I now have Girlfight in my queue and I’m hoping to see The Invitation at some point so I can finish off my viewing of Kusama’s films. I have a feeling I’ll enjoy those two, as well.