Those unfortunate enough to have seen either of Michael Bay’s Transformers films will be familiar with the considerable aesthetic charm of lead actress Megan Fox. Those who follow the lighter side of popular culture will be further familiar with how charmingly unencumbered the actress is with modesty, restraint and common sense. Jennifer’s Body provides Miss Fox with the perfect vehicle for all of those God-given talents playing the titular Jennifer, a high-school student possessed by a demon.
In a rural backwater called Devil’s Kettle, school hottie Jennifer (Megan Fox) and the awkward and geeky Needy (Amanda Seyfried of Mamma Mia fame) have been best friends since childhood. When a big-city indie band come to play at the local bar, Jennifer drags Needy along for the show but ditches her friend when she hooks up and takes off with the band’s lead singer Nikolai (Adam Brody).
Unfortunately for poor Jennifer, what Nikolai and his bandmates have in mind for the little minx is a ceremony requiring the sacrifice of a virgin to the Devil in order to be rewarded with a record deal and financial success. Unfortunately for Nikolai and his bandmates, Jennifer is anything but the virgin she claims to be (“I’m not even a back-door virgin,” she brags to Needy earlier in the film). What creeps back into town in the form of Jennifer’s body is a deamon with a growing hunger for male flesh (a literal man-eater). Only poor Needy sees Jennifer for what she truly is (“Actual evil, not just high school evil,” as Needy says) as the teenage male population of Devil’s Kettle is slowly and rather bloodily whittled away.
What elevates Jennifer’s Body above any of the dozen other teen slasher films we’ve seen this year is its screenplay by Oscar-winning scribe Diablo Cody. While nowhere near as hip and clever as her earlier Juno or her TV work The United States of Tara, Jennifer’s Body is a fun mix of gore and laughs, though unfortunately also equal parts cliché.
Seyfried continues to prove interesting, while a number of the smaller roles are made meatier by big-name cameos, including JK Simmons, Amy Sedaris, and The OC’s Brody. Fox is compelling here and while she is given more to work with than in Transformers, director Karyn Kusama’s camera is as shamelessly exploitative as Michael Bay’s ever was. With women calling the shots on this production, I’m sure we’re supposed to think this is empowerment, but I’m not sure this is what feminism is really about.