My vote for the most underrated film of 2009 might shock my readers, but please, hold your rotten tomatoes until you actually see Jennifer’s Body. Like most discriminating movie-goers, I felt the film’s ad campaign worked hard to convince me this was your run-of-the-mill sexy teenage horror romp starring Megan Fox. Let me set a few things straight. First of all, contrary to what the previews imply, there are zero scenes with nudity. Yes, Jennifer uses her charms to lure boys into her professionally-manicured grip, but the movie is much more concerned with exploring strong female characters than it is with teasing horny teenage movie-goers. After I saw the film, I wanted to beat up whoever was the film’s director of marketing. Every time I rave about this film, I have to combat the expectations set by its terrible previews.
Written by Diablo Cody (writer of Juno), this film teems with crunchy dialogue that’s funny, surprising, and smart. The writing and cinematography strike a nice balance of paying homage to classic horror films and toying with the expectations of the horror audience. Above and beyond most films in its genre, it has some unexpected plot turns, great pacing, delicious irony, and even a satisfying ending.
Another secret that the previews keep from you is that Amanda Seyfried steals the show. Sure, Megan Fox makes a great high school demon-girl, but the story really follows Seyfried’s character, Needy, and it’s her sharp narration and endearing perspective that pushes this treat into a sophisticated, delectable concoction.
With such empowering female roles, this is not a film targeting puberty-riddled boys. If anything, this is a horror film geared toward women— a rare specimen indeed. Don’t get me wrong, the gents will love it, too. But the characters, humor, and restraint in gore have a slight female-minded slant. Like in Juno, the women are strong, witty, relatable characters in a realistic high school environment. In this case, there just happens to be supernatural forces at play.
Now that I’ve let you in on this gem of a secret, it’s time to find some friends and watch this baby, pronto. You have my personal guarantee that it will surprise you, make you laugh, and leave you with feelings of anger toward certain marketing departments.