DVD Review: Fox’s ‘Jennifer’s Body’

Now available on DVD and Blu-ray everywhere from Fox Home Entertainment is the Megan Fox sexy horror thriller Jennifer’s Body, which follows Fox as a cheerleader who is possessed by a demon and starts feeding off the boys in a Minnesota farming town. Her “plain Jane” best friend must kill her, then escape from a correctional facility to go after the Satan-worshiping rock band responsible for the transformation. Check out David Harley’s DVD review of the film below.Sometimes the first five or ten minutes of a film can tell you everything you need to know. For example, you have Inside, which explodes right off the bat and gives every indication of being a fast-paced exercise in blood and pain and completely fulfills that prediction. Or, maybe Suspiria, which starts off like a dream-like fairy tale with some splatter and continues to stay that way for its duration. And then you have Jennifer’s Body, which gives every indication of being a self-indulgent, pop-culture laden mess and unfortunately doesn’t disappoint. And on top of that, it’s the kind of film that makes you want to check the DVD timer after eight minutes, only to make you realize that no, it’s not an hour in and you still have about ninety minutes left.

Diablo Cody’s latest script tells the story of two unlikely best friends: Needy (Amanda Seyfried), a nerdy Plain Jane, and Jennifer (Megan Fox), a slutty cheerleader who’s desired by every male in the town of Devil’s Kettle. After heading to a Low Shoulder concert at a local bar and narrowly escaping a fire, Jennifer disappears for a few hours with the band only to return spewing black goo and, well, acting like herself.

And that’s the big difference between Jennifer’s Body and Diablo Cody’s last screenplay, Juno: there are actually characters in the latter. People might despise Juno – and I can see why – but at least there are distinctly different personalities in the film. The dialogue might feel completely unnatural and ridiculous in parts (many parts, even), but the characters display an assortment of arcs, emotions and reactions. In Jennifer’s Body, everyone has Diablo Cody’s mouth; they just happen to have different bodies. There are no differences between the characters besides on the surface. And in Jennifer’s case, her personality doesn’t even change in the slightest after she becomes possessed. You’d figure that transforming from a small-town cheerleader to a succubus would have a pretty big impact on one’s persona but she still acts like the same unlikable character from beginning to end. Same with Needy, who might get ballsy and a tad more aggressive towards the end but ultimately is the same insecure, friend-idolizing girl. What’s more of a shame is that the few characters that might’ve been interesting to explore more – Needy’s boyfriend Chip and the members of Low Shoulder come to mind – are vastly underused, despite providing the only real moments of comedic relief in this supposed horror-comedy.

The direction is unfortunately as commonplace and disappointing as the script. Karyn Kusama, whose previous work includes Girlfight and Æon Flux (which is a groundbreaking, mind-blowing cartoon but a terrible film), uses as many different director’s styles throughout as Cody uses homages to better films. Jennifer’s Body doesn’t feel like anything but a bunch of better movies cobbled together to make a less satisfying one, considering it’s never focused enough to hit its comedic marks or produce genuine frights. Consider any goodwill built up by Juno on Cody’s behalf to be completely eradicated.

The special features on the DVD are just as disappointing as the film itself. First off, we’re given two cuts of the film, with the unrated running a few minutes longer and whose biggest difference is an elongated opening. A few other jokes are peppered in throughout but nothing else that could be considered substantial. Also included are two commentary tracks. The first is with Kusama and Cody and is only included on the theatrical cut. It’s a bit more free-form than the second track and features discussion on the themes, script changes and characters of the film. Cody manages to throw in a few jokes here and there but seems kind of like she didn’t want to be on the track. The second commentary, featuring Kusama only, is available on the unrated cut only and is a very dry, technical look at the film and only runs through a handful of scenes.

Film: 1/5
DVD: 1/5