You may remember Diablo Cody as the screenwriter of Juno, 2007's smash indie hit starring Ellen Page as a young, whip smart high school student who just happens to get knocked up. I, however, have still not seen Juno. I realize this is problematic and I promise to rectify this situation as soon as possible.
Fortunately this is a review of Diablo Cody's newest offering, Jennifer's Body. The New York Times, in an interesting but belated article called "Girls Gone Gory," describes the surge in horror films geared towards young women. These films are simultaneously scary and empowering, featuring women who find power by overcoming or becoming evil.
Too bad Heathers hit the nail on the coffin way back in 1988. A Mean Girls cum Friday the 13th murderous high school romp starring Winona Ryder and Christian Slater, is really the jumping off point for films like Jawbreaker (1999), Jennifer's Body, and countless others.
So, now that the shout out to Heathers is done, on to the film at hand. Jennifer, played by the unbelievably smokin' Megan Fox, is that girl, the one every girl wants to be, and every guy wants to be with. Inexplicably, Megan has chosen "Needy," (Amanda Seyfried) as her BFF, even though, true to her name, Needy is a bit clingy and nerdy.
But Jennifer needs a wing-man, and Needy's perfect for the job. That way, Jennifer doesn't have to worry about competition when it comes to seducing "salty" dudes. Unfortunately for Needy (and for Jennifer) the cheesy ass emo boy band they go to see ends up burning down the bar and abducting Jennifer, driving off in their van. Jennifer shows up later at Needy's doorstep looking like this:
Jennifer's become some sort of monster, who feels weak and strange unless she's full. And full means she's got a belly full of teenage boy.
So there's the "scary" stuff.
The real scary stuff, however, is the relationship between Jennifer and Needy. Jennifer's never really been a good friend to Needy, and since becoming un-human she's even less sympathetic. The shit really hits the fan when Jennifer goes after Needy's adorable boyfriend, Chip. Then the movie becomes an all and all cat-fight between the living and the undead.
Now, I know all of this is entertaining and results in a fair amount of comedy gold. But what I'd like to ask Diablo Cody is: why is Jennifer punished for her bad behavior? She's technically a victim, after all. And why the hell can't we see a movie where Needy might prevail? Or, even better, a movie where Jennifer and Needy rule the world? Or at least their high school?
The title of this movie says it all. Horror movies, even those written by women, still have a way to go when it comes to girl power. The ultimate girl power, to me, would be watching two lady friends triumph over evil by working together. And yeah, women fight, but it would be cool for once if it we weren't using the same subversive, sexist violence to fight each other.
Lick it up baby, lick it up.