Jennifer’s Body

From the director of the failed live-action adaptation of æon flux comes a film that is frequently gross, gooey and quite bloody, but never scary—largely because the script relies heavily on shock (schlock?) over suspense. Stripper-cum-blogger-cum-screenwriter Diablo Cody, whose first noteworthy credit came with Jason Reitman’s breakout hit Juno, tackles the high-school vampire genre with a film whose title is taken from a Courtney Love song.

Megan Fox plays the ravenous titular femme-vamp-cheerleader, but the story doesn’t revolve entirely around her: it’s told in flashback by her bff Needy (yes, really, “Needy”), a dorky, doe-eyed Amanda Seyfried (TV’s Veronica Mars, Atom Egoyan’s forthcoming Chloe). The small (read: hick) town of Devil’s Kettle—named for a mysterious whirlpool-to-nowhere at the foot of the local falls—doesn’t see much excitement, so when a local emo (or, as Cody’s script would have it, “indie”) band comes to town, fronted by an eyeliner-heavy Adam Brody in his first visible role in years, Jennifer and Needy get excited at the prospect of meeting a few interesting city boys.

(But, oh no, their tour bus doubles as a dodgy rape-van!) In order to maintain her ravenous, man-eating lifestyle, Jennifer turns to schoolboys—one of whom is, unsurprisingly, Needy’s boyfriend. Jennifer’s Body certainly has the expected snap, crackle and pop dialogue-wise—there are a few wonderful quips, like a line about Jennifer needing a tampon after having been impaled on a large metal spike, and liberal use of Codyisms like “freaktarded”—but is impaired by cheap csi-style cinematography and severely lacks a certain je-ne-sais-quoi when it comes to pacing, suspense and anything other than paper-thin characters.

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