Jennifer’s Body is a slasher film without creative kills or development on the victims. Instead, our point of view is from that of a bystander named Needy (Amanda Seyfried). Our killer is Jennifer Check (Megan Fox), who disappears after a concert and eventually turns into something that resembles a demon-vampire thing. She goes for the throat, but ends up eating the majority of the victim’s body. The reason behind this transformation isn’t given right away, but it makes no difference to the rest of the plot anyway, so I’m not quite sure why it’s initially hidden.
Regardless, that’s what happens. Jennifer goes around eating a couple of people, while Needy tells us, and her boyfriend, that she thinks something’s up. But she doesn’t do anything about it. Jennifer is going around murdering and cannibalizing people, but her best friend doesn’t say anything, or at least, doesn’t say anything persuasive. She mentions that Jennifer doesn’t look all that good, but Jennifer brushes off that comment, and then nothing else is said of it.
All throughout the film, it becomes clear that Jennifer is not our lead character, despite what the advertisements might want you to believe. Instead, Needy is, the self-professed “dork,” who astounds everyone by still managing to be friends with the head cheerleader Jennifer. The film could have delved into high school dynamics being altered due to the events that are caused by Jennifer, but that doesn’t happen. Instead, everyone just moans about how their friends are being killed, but yet again, nobody does anything about it.
I suppose that the reason for this is that nobody would suspect someone like Jennifer—who is popular, unassuming, etc—would be capable of performing these murders. And since there’s no real lead, nobody can do anything. But this makes no sense when we have Needy who knows that something is wrong, but says nothing to anyone but her boyfriend, who ignores her comments.
We are not given any depth or information on Jennifer’s victims, or at least, none of significance. Oh, there’s a football player and a goth kid, but that’s about as much characterization as we get. As a result, we don’t care that Jennifer tears them to pieces, instead just hoping that their deaths will be quick. The final victim of the film gets a slight bit more depth, but is still a one-dimensional character who ends up serving little purpose when you look at the film as a whole.
Jennifer’s Body doesn’t work, nor do any of its individual elements.
The victims are also few, with, by my count, there being four people killed by Jennifer, and only three are killed on-screen, with the fourth being implied. Of these deaths, all of them get it the same way: They are seduced by Jennifer, and then they are bitten and eaten. There is no variation in these kills; once you see one of them, you’ve seen them all. And since you don’t care about the victims, the film gets boring really quickly.
This isn’t helped by Megan Fox, whose lifeless eyes fail to bring any depth to her serial killer. There’s no emotion coming from her, and there were also a few awkwardly delivered lines. She’s not a good actor, which comes across clearly here, especially when she’s put alongside Amanda Seyfried, who can act (although she’s not given all that much depth of character here either).
For a horror film, Jennifer’s Body isn’t scary. There wasn’t a single scene where I was feeling unnerved or frightened or even all that thrilled. I was bored, more often than not, and because of the lack of depth or scares, there was nothing keeping me wanting to watch this film. It was like watching paint dry for most of the time, except the paint was occasionally being splattered with copious amounts of blood or black vomit in hopes that I’d find that scary.
The best thing, so I’m told, that Jennifer’s Body had going for it was that the screenplay was written by Diablo Cody. Cody previously wrote Juno, which was praised for its “hip” dialogue. (That was perhaps the best thing about it.) But that dialogue annoyed me after a while, and here it just comes across as insufferable. If the film had actually focused on high school, and the dynamics of such a location, it might make sense to have that type of dialogue, but since most of it doesn’t take place there, the dialogue was simply annoying.
It doesn’t help that the characters never feel like teenagers, but instead feel like young adults. What made the dialogue work as well as it did in Juno was because there were adults around to keep the younger characters feel younger. Here, what few adults we do see act and talk just like the teenagers, making it feel like there’s no difference between the age groups. It doesn’t work, and comes across as a gimmick instead of something to enhance the experience.
Jennifer’s Body doesn’t work, nor do any of its individual elements. The writing doesn’t fit, the acting is one the whole pretty poor, and there aren’t any scares to be found here. There is no reason to watch this film, save for a good performance from Amanda Seyfried. But one performance in a sea of awful is not enough to save the film. Stay away from this one.
Conclusion: Jennifer’s Body is an ineffective slasher film.
Recommendation: Jennifer’s Body is not worth watching.