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When small town high school student Jennifer is possessed by a hungry demon, she transitions from being "high school evil"—gorgeous (and doesn't she know it), stuck up and ultra-attitudinal—to the real deal: evil/evil. The glittering beauty becomes a pale and sickly creature jonesing for a meaty snack, and guys who never stood a chance with the heartless babe, take on new luster in the light of Jennifer's insatiable appetite. Meanwhile, Jennifer's lifelong best friend Needy, long relegated to living in Jennifer's shadow, must step-up to protect the town's young men, including her nerdy boyfriend Chip.
For more about Jennifer's Body and the Jennifer's Body Blu-ray release, see Jennifer's Body Blu-ray Review published by Casey Broadwater on January 3, 2010 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.0 out of 5.
Director: Karyn Kusama
Writer: Diablo Cody
Starring: Megan Fox, Amanda Seyfried, Johnny Simmons, Adam Brody, Sal Cortez, Ryan Levine
» See full cast & crew
Jennifer's Body Blu-ray Review
“Hell is a teenage girl.”
Reviewed by Casey Broadwater, January 3, 2010
Jennifer's Body, starring Megan Fox. That seems to say it all, doesn't it? Even if you knew absolutely nothing about this effective little genre offering, you would probably assume from the title and lead actress alone that the film is an exploitive exercise in voyeuristic sexiness, mere fodder for hormonally hyped male teenage imaginations. Ah, but assuming, as they say, makes an "ass" out of "u" and "me." While Megan Fox's sultry presence certainly gives the film the ogle factor so prominently pushed in advertisements for the film, writer Diablo Cody (Juno) and director Karyn Kusama (Girlfight, Æon Flux)—a rare all- female filmmaking team—have more in mind for Jennifer's Body than simply satiating male appetites. Quite the opposite, in fact, as Fox's demonically possessed Jennifer satisfies her evil hungers by feasting, literally, on male flesh. While I do think it's somewhat of a stretch to call Jennifer's Body a pointedly feminist horror film—it's not quite the rape-revenge fantasy some overreaching critics have made it out to be—it's clear that Cody and Kusama have set out to make a movie in which women, or teenaged girls, really, figure centrally. Males are just lunchmeat here, but they're never presented as deserving of their gory fates. The emphasis is not on revenge for wrongs committed by males against women, but rather on the mysterious and often frightening power of female sexuality. And more so, it's about the types of power that girls often unhealthily hold over one another.
Every school has one: the almost alarmingly hypersexual nymphet, the girl who has come to an early realization of the power that she lords over boys by simply being desirable. At Devil's Kettle High School, that girl is raven-haired cheerleader Jennifer Check (Megan Fox). Jennifer's BFF, or "best friend forever" for all you oldies, is the mousy and bespectacled Anita "Needy" Lesnicki (Amanda Seyfried). Their friendship is unlikely—Jennifer is infinitely more popular—but they've known each other since childhood, and "sandbox love," as Needy tells us, "never dies." Jennifer is definitely the power broker in the relationship. She's a raging narcissist who, not wanting to be upstaged, even tells Needy what she can and cannot wear. ("I can show belly," narrates Needy, "but no cleavage. Tits are Jennifer's trademark.") Needy takes this in stride though, even when it frustrates her caring boyfriend Chip (Johnnie Simmons). When the two friends go to see foppish indie band Low Shoulder at a local dive bar, Jennifer falls hard for "salty" frontman Nikolai (Adam Brody), who has literally diabolical intentions for finding a willing groupie. After a suspicious electrical fire destroys the bar, Jennifer leaves Needy and goes into the woods with the band. When she shows up at Needy's house later that night, covered with blood and smiling creepily, she squats and projectile vomits a stream of prickly black goo all over the kitchen floor. Obviously, something happened in the woods.
Here's a lesson worth learning. If you're an ambitious indie band willing to sacrifice a virgin to the devil to ensure you make it big, make sure your virgin is actually a virgin. Otherwise, the girl simply becomes a demon-possessed man-eater with superhuman powers. Case in point: Jennifer, who's "not even a back-door virgin anymore," is the victim of a botched sacrifice and then goes on a murderous, boy-devouring rampage, luring sexually/emotionally vulnerable young men into isolated areas and mauling them until they look, as the mother of one victim puts it, "like lasagna with teeth." None of these fine fellows deserve death; they're simply seduced and fall prey to Jennifer's goregasmic appetite. The town goes into shock, the media swarms, and the whole country "gets a tragedy boner for Devil's Kettle." But only Needy knows what's really happening.
The film flirts with sexual ambiguity as the relationship between Needy and Jennifer—and it is a relationship—deteriorates over the course of the narrative. Early on, Needy gets called "lesbi-gay" for staring too adoringly at Jennifer. Later, after Jennifer's possession, the two share a much- publicized kiss. Needy is surprised, somewhat willing, but ultimately repulsed. Jennifer, on the other hand, reminds Needy that they used to play boyfriend/girlfriend at sleepovers. Jennifer could be straight, gay, bi, or even sexually indifferent—it doesn't really matter—but what's more interesting is how she needs Needy much more than Needy needs her. Like a lot of drop-dead gorgeous girls, Jennifer is painfully and secretly insecure, and she uses Needy to bolster her own confidence. And ultimately, this puts Needy's boyfriend Chip in danger, not only because he's stealing Needy away, but also because he represents the one thing that Needy has that Jennifer doesn't: someone who loves her for who she is, not just her figure. Though I'm still not convinced of Megan Fox as an actor, she's perfect for this role, which really only requires her to be catty, bitchy, sexy, and occasionally creepy. Not too tall of an order for her, I'd imagine. Amanda Seyfried, however, is genuinely impressive, anchoring the film around her ability to hold our sympathy.
Clearly, Jennifer's Body has a lot more going on upstairs than the average, stereotype- stocked, body count-obsessed teen slasher movie. While you could argue that the film isn't nearly scary or violent enough to satisfy modern horror audiences—and admittedly, there is a dearth of scares—this seems beside the point. Sure, Jennifer is "actually evil, not high school evil," but she's also representative of the cruelty and maliciousness with which girls can treat one another. That's the real horror here, and it cuts cleanly thanks to the acerbic edge of Diablo Cody's Heathers-like black comedy. Cody took a shower of criticism after winning an Oscar for her Juno screenplay—her teen-speak dialogue was deemed affected, irritating, and cloying—but she hasn't backed down here, lacing her script with droll slang and off-the-cuff pop- culture references. And within the dark context of Jennifer's Body—as opposed to the quirky-indie-sunshiny cuteness of Juno—it actually works. There are the expected misfires, like when Jennifer calls Chip "lime green Jell-O" for being jealous, but there are also plenty of winners, as when Jennifer grabs Needy's breasts and says, "These are like smart bombs, you point them in the right direction and shit gets real." Director Karyn Kusama seems to get Cody's wry writing style on an intuitive level, the film is shot lusciously, and the pop-punk fueled pacing rarely flags. The haters will say that the movie is just a reason to gape and awe at Megan Fox's svelte figure for two hours, but Jennifer's Body is unexpectedly more than skin deep.
Jennifer's Body Blu-ray, Video Quality
Ah, the better to see you with my dear. Jennifer's Body sashays onto Blu-ray with a sexy 1.85:1-framed, 1080p/AVC-encoded transfer that has all the right moves. The film's settings are quite varied tonally—sunny football field exteriors, the gauzy twilight of a school dance, softly lit bedrooms, deep dark woods—and this transfer has no trouble keeping up in clarity, color, and contrast. Detail is strong all around, whether on the denim weft of Chip's jeans, the texture of Needy's facial features, or the resolution of background objects. It must've been cold, because in the scene when Jennifer emerges from the lake, you'll even be able to make out the goosebumps on her shoulders as she wrings the water out of her hair. Colors are densely saturated—see Jennifer's purple and gold cheerleader outfit or Needy's bright pink Glenda the Good Witch prom dress—and skin tones are warm and stable. (Except for Jennifer's, that is, as her face intentionally goes from pale to flushed and back again, depending on her how recently she has fed.) Much of the film takes place at night, and while I noticed one or two shots that seemed a little grayish, black levels are dense, while preserving relevant shadow detail, and contrast is tight. The film's fine grain structure is intact, the print is in perfect condition, and didn't spot any overt compression anomalies, excess sharpening, smearing, or other transfer-related issues.
Jennifer's Body Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Rounding out a fine A/V package is the film's brawny, intelligently mixed DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track, which is capable of caressing your softer sonic sensibilities as well as manhandling your eardrums when necessary. The scene in the Melody Lane tavern exemplifies this well. One minute, indie-wannabes Low Shoulder are soaring through the chorus of their hopeful hit single— compete with tight bass, detailed guitar, and punchy cymbals—and the next a fire has erupted, roaring all around us. Beams of timber split, crash, and crunch, patrons scream and stampede, and when the bar goes up in an enormous fireball, the LFE-heavy explosion rolls and rumbles. The rear channels are frequently activated throughout the film. Crows beat their wings furiously, rats scurry by, glass shatters from back to front, and there's ample ambience to set the scene. Dialogue prioritization is never an issue, and whether we're in a quiet conversation or a cacophony of evil, it's always easy to understand what's being said. The music is potent and aggressive, the flesh-rending sound effects are appropriately gruesome, and the mix is immersive and dynamically solid. For a film like this, there's not much more you could ask for.
Jennifer's Body Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Theatrical and Unrated Extended Cut
This disc includes both versions of the film, though pervy fans looking for more of Jennifer's body in the extended cut will be sorely disappointed. Instead of adding more flesh and gore, the unrated version rearranges a few scenes and tosses in a few extra character beats. After watching both, I think I prefer the extended cut.
Commentary by Director Karyn Kusama and Writer Diablo Cody (Theatrical Version)
An intelligent, insightful, and listenable track all around, Cody and Kusama dig into the film's characters and themes, discuss creative choices, and give a rare, completely female perspective on the horror genre.
Commentary by Director Karyn Kusama (Extended Version)
To avoid redundancy, this is a scene specific track, where Kusama addresses the differences between the theatrical and extended cuts of the film.
Deleted Scenes (1080p, 13:55 total)
Six scenes are included here, most of which are extended versions of existing scenes.
Gag Reel (SD, 4:55)
This starts as a gag reel, with all the usual botched lines, but then it switches to random clips from the film and snippets of behind-the-scenes footage.
Jennifer's Body: The Dead Pool (1080p, 14:00)
A better-than-average behind-the-scenes featurette, The Dead Pool focuses mostly on the filming of the climactic confrontation that takes place in the decrepit indoor pool. We get plenty of interviews with writer Diablo Cody, director Karyn Kusama, and the stars, but the best parts feature special FX guru Greg Nicotero showing off some of the preliminary designs for Jennifer's torn jaw. Pretty creepy stuff.
Video Diaries (1080i, 12:51 total)
Megan Fox, Johnny Simmons, Amanda Seyfried, writer Diablo Cody, and producer Dan Dubiecki all toted around Handicams for a few days to document their experiences on set.
Megan Fox is Hot (1080p, 00:56)
For all you pervs out there, all the sexy shots of Fox from the film have been stitched together, one after another, for your viewing pleasure.
Megan Fox "Peer Pressure" PSA (SD, 00:40)
Megan's public service announcement is all about the importance of being who you are, even if you're a demon-possessed, boy-eating psychopath.
Fox Movie Channel Presents Life After Film School with Diablo Cody (SD, 26:26)
In Life After Film School, three current students interview industry insiders, and here they take on Diablo Cody, who discusses her unlikely career trajectory from stripper to Oscar- winning screenwriter, and who fields questions about the process of writing Jennifer's Body.
Trailers (1080p, 4:15 total)
Includes trailers for (500) Days of Summer, Wrong Turn 3: Left For Dead, and Something, Something, Something, Darkside.
Jennifer's Body Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
I wasn't expecting to like Jennifer's Body—Juno got on my nerves after awhile and Megan Fox has reached the critical mass of media saturation—but I was surprised to find a biting horror comedy with more than just a pretty face. Diehard horror fans may scoff at the relative lack of viscera, and Diablo Cody detractors may choose to shrug this one off, but when was the last time you saw a horror film written and directed by women? Cody and director Karyn Kusama have crafted a tight, entertaining film that overturns conventions and exceeds genre expectations. Recommended.
Jennifer's Body: Other Editions
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Computer animation has allowed storytellers to create fantastic dream worlds where imaginations can fly through the air just as easily as they can converse under water. Rarely is the technology used to manifest nightmares of post-apocalyptic war zones, an unfortunate ...
• Jennifer's Body Blu-ray Gets Detailed - November 7, 2009
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment has announced the technical specs and special features for the upcoming Blu-ray release of 'Jennifer's Body', which is scheduled to hit store shelves on December 29th, day-and-date with the DVD release. Featuring both the theatrical ...
• Jennifer's Body BD Coming Up - November 2, 2009
According to early retailer information, Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment will release the Megan Fox vehicle 'Jennifer's Body' on Blu-ray on December 29, day-and-date with the DVD. No edition details are available apart from it being a two-disc edition, ...
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