Share this article

print logo

Satan's child Megan Fox stars in screenwriter Diablo Cody's attempt to put a female spin on teen horror movies

"Hell" (pause) "is a teenage girl."

One of the great opening movie lines I say. But that's not all. You haven't lived until you've seen Megan Fox with blood dripping from her front teeth. And then vomiting unsightly goo all over the kitchen floor.

Ms. Fox, for those who don't know, is the current reigning sex goddess of teendom, an erotic vision so pure that she's always seemed more of a teen's bedroom wall poster than a human being. Her poses and seductive lynx-eyed stares have adorned Michael Bay's "Transformers" movies, where they've been only marginally more human than all the deafening flailings of the autobots.

My first bit of happy news for you about "Jennifer's Body" is that the real Fox, it seems, is a wee bit nutty. Why else would she play Jennifer in the film, which is a merry little piece of junk intended to put a female spin on teen horror movies?

Which leads to the second bit of happy news: The secret's now completely out -- chicks dig horror flicks.

Not all of them, obviously, and not quite the way teen boys do sitting in theaters with their genetic coding prompting salacious and anarchic thoughts of a sort that society frowns on. But it's a fact that young girls have been doing their share and then some to keep horror movies in business and, by God, here's the movie that's going to prove it.

It's written by Diablo Cody, the tart-tongued ex-stripper who won an Oscar for her script for "Juno" and now, by God, gives us an extremely merry lesson in how to feminize high school horror hijinks.

Cody's script for "Juno" wasn't beloved by all. Some described it as an absurd and annoyingly pretentious simulation of teen-girl patois. To those of us who did love it, it got a couple of things wickedly right: 1) the age-old desire of teens to distinguish themselves from dreary grown-ups by the stuff that comes out of their mouths, and 2) the less-traditional teen delusion that a lot of pop cultural sophistication is the exact same thing as being wised-up, perhaps even mature.

It isn't. And that's what "Juno" was so lovably and rendingly about.

"Jennifer's Body" is "Juno" turned upside down.

Jennifer isn't a goofy pregnant little misfit, she's the hot-bodied Queen Bee of the local high school. To put it mildly, she's sexually experienced ("I'm not even a back door virgin," she says.)

When you're around Jennifer, you'd better measure up. Or she'll say things like "don't be so JV."

She's the sort of girl everyone's mother once warned them about.

Except that she's had a BFF practically since the sandbox. Her BFF's name -- wonderfully -- is Needy. And she's played by the superb Amanda Seyfried, the actress ("Mamma Mia") whose gorgeous, pond-sized eyes can't be hidden by glasses, but you get the point when the film tries.

The girls live in a town appealingly named Devil's Kettle.

Big trouble happens one night at the local roadhouse which, small-town style, is more of a beer-sloshed lodge hall than rock palace. The girls go there one night to check out the local little indie band called Low Shoulder.

Not-a-virgin Jennifer has her sights set on some after-gig time with the lead singer. She gets her wish and a whole lot more than she bargained for. It seems that the doofus Low Shoulder boys are into satanic rituals. "Do you know how hard it is to make it as an indie band these days?" they complain. "Satan is our only hope."

So their deal with the devil calls for them to sacrifice a virgin to you-know-who. That's the trouble: If the girl you pick isn't a virgin, all you do is wind up turning her into a demon.

And that's our Jennifer, after that tragic night out on the town. The place, in fact, burns down and lives are lost. Jennifer and Needy escape.

Needy notices that the new, post-demonic Jennifer seems even less moved by loss of life than Michael Bay seems to be. Then she starts out showing up with blood dripping from her mouth and scavenging the neighborhood for boys to chow down on.

When one of those is Needy's longtime boyfriend -- well there are certain things that even BFFs don't put up with.

The director here is Karyn Kusama of "Girlfight" fame. You know that this is a movie that takes its drollery very seriously the minute you see J. K. Simmons -- who played Juno's loving Dad -- as a science teacher with a prosthetic hook at the end of his left arm. You're sure of it when you realize Needy's Mom is played by Amy Sedaris.

Cody makes a point of giving everything a teen-girl spin, so there are Monistat jokes in place of the usual Apatow horndog allusions.

It all works. Because of Cody and Kusama, that slant gives it the same kind of wry junkiness that a Quentin Tarantino or Robert Rodriguez horror movie might have but without all the gore.

In fact, it's not all that scary or gory at all, as befits its intention. It makes you jump a couple of times, but even Jennifer's geyser upchuck in the kitchen isn't as "ewwwww, gross" as so many teen slasher movies are.

The cleverness is all in the wink and smartness of narcissistic teen-girl culture and the comic twist on teen rituals (clumsy sex, for instance, with "Slippery Squirrel" condoms.)

Here's a movie, then, created from the previously unconsidered Tarantinettes who have seen far too many junky movies, just like Quentin, and are determined to giggle their way through some teen horror junk about the perils that might await those who aren't necessarily pretty in pink.

And, even worse, their horny unsuspecting boyfriends.

You never know when some hot girl will come along and have them for lunch -- for real, you know?

Great movie junk, it's not. But it's not JV either.

MOVIE REVIEW

Jennifer's Body

Review: 3 stars (Out of 4)

Megan Fox, Amanda Seyfried, J. K. Simmons and Amy Sedaris in Karyn Kusama and Diablo Cody's horror fantasy about a high school siren who goes very, very wrong. Rated R, opening Friday in area theaters.

e-mail: jsimon@buffnews.com

There are no comments - be the first to comment