*Skip the premise and go directly to the review if you’ve read my previous posts already*
Premise – Horror movies have always been divisive towards the audience. From the 80s, the cult franchises have created a trend particularly appreciated by the viewers. The Nightmare movies, the Halloween franchise as well as the Hellraiser flicks have marked the path that walked us, the audience, to an overwhelming cinema market filled with non-original movies, remake, reboots, sequels and prequels.
The formula is basically this: a director makes a successful movie with a little budget and a big return at the box office. So that the Hollywood major labels exploit said success to make tons of sequels and prequels that hit the box office without telling anything new or original to the viewer (ehm ehm… Saw, Hostel… ehm ehm). Sometimes, even the first installment is disappointing by every means but the economical profit (ehm ehm… Paranormal Activity, Wrong Turn… ehm ehm).
All these franchises have something in common, i.e. poor writing, bland characters, jump scares, unoriginal villains, flawed cinematography. Why are they successful? Because the horror audience is now used to go to the movie expecting to have ‘a good time’ instead of being shocked and disturbed by an original, unsettling and brave script filled with good performances, relatable characters and true fear.
What are the consequences? Not just new masterpieces such as It Follows and The Babadook, among the others, are considered as boring movies. Not just the milestones of horror cinema are now considered worthless. But also quite good movies that came out in the last 20-25 years have been underestimated by both audience and reviewers. Here a list for you, hoping you guys can have some fun and meditation on something a bit more original and ‘out there’. Enjoy.
NOTE: some movie franchises are actually worth watching, please do not dismiss the first Saw movie as well as the well-directed Insidious movies. Both from the talent of James Wan. The guy brings it right home.
Jennifer’s Body (2009) is an horror black-comedy starring Megan Fox, Amanda Seyfried, directed by Karyn Kusama and written by Brook Busey-Maurio (Juno), A.K.A. Diablo Cody.
The movie’s plot revolves around the relationship between the popular Jennifer Check (Megan Fox) and the nerdy Anita “Needy” Lesnicki (Amanda Seyfried). One night, Jennifer hooks up with the lead voice of a boyband (Adam Brody) who, thinking Jennifer is a virgin, decides alongside with the other band members to sacrifice her in order to achieve the eternal life.
Unfortunately for them, the ritual envisages the victim is a virgin and, since Jennifer is not, the final result is that to transform the girl in a cannibal demon. As a consequence, Jennifer starts to seduce high-school dudes (obviously a piece of cake for Megan Fox) to eat them alive and keep herself young and strong. Needy, once having discovered Jennifer is the responsible for all the disappearances and killings, tries to stop her hunger.
As you can see, the premise as well as the story itself is pretty silly. There is also a twist towards the end – which I’m not going to spoil in case you haven’t seen the movie yet – that is kind of ‘meh’.
On the contrary, what is really good in this movie is the balance between comedic and gory moments. Jennifer’s Body is meant to be silly and laughable, but at the same time the project was to include horror elements to it. About that, Diablo Cody has proven once again – after the success of Juno – to be great in making mixed bag films. Juno is a perfect mixture of drama and comedy, whereas Jennifer’s Body is an excellent assortment of comedy and horror.
Contrarily of Juno, both the audience and the critiques have panned this film. I’m struggling to understand why. To me, Jennifer’s Body is an highly entertaining movie, filled with good performances (and Megan Fox doing what she’s great to, but with a surprisingly funny vibe), great score and an interesting approach to the coming-of-age genre.
Furthermore, there are two other elements I would like to talk about briefly. The first one consists of the ‘rewatchability’ factor. Since the film is not based on incredible plot twists or solving mysteries, the entertainment could be relived numerous times.
The other thing really astonished me watching this movie is the violence. Despite being a comedy, Jennifer’s Body is gory and gruesome beyond any expectation. The disturbing element is not groundless though, since it establishes a fagile equilibrium with the sensual moments – provided by Megan, of course.
Ladies and Gentleman – ladies above all – this movie is strongly recommended and it suits perfectly the Epiphany. Have fun watching it on this day. Cheers.