Jennifer's Body (2009)
She's evil... and not just high school evil.
People tell me that Megan Fox is a bad actress, that she's nothing but a pretty face. I honestly don't think she's that bad - I mean, surely no Kurt Russel, but leagues better than Kristen Stewart for sure - but the real test of how good an actor is would be in the breadth of roles they can play. That being said, I've been on a horror movie kick again recently, so tie in seeing how well she can do as a bad guy and the fact that (from the trailers) it's a sex-based monster while not actually having a lot of nude shots and you can color me interested. Granted, the questions always remains as to if the movie's goodness will be all my imagination, or if it's for a good time we should call.
Teenagers are the worst. All day every day is about being as cool as possible, fitting in, and getting laid. Every now and then a friendship exists that can baffle the mind however, and this is the case between Jennifer and pal Needy. They've been best friends for near ever, and although you'd never believe it the two hang out and share everything together. They even have a system of words for classifying how "showy" to dress along with all the generic teenage lingos. One might almost think that it's too good to be true, and surely a rift starts to appear after a terrible night at a concert in a local bar that Jennifer convinces Needy to go to - all starting with the place burning down, and the night ending with Jennifer riding off in a creepy "rape-mobile" with the band.
As rough as it is being a teenager, it must be equally as rough being an indie rock band looking for a break. So many cute-haired groups of lads are charging about, playing their tunes and looking for their big break that sometimes the skills and looks alone just aren't enough to get to the levels of famous that a band wants. For the band Low Shoulder, this is the case - until one fateful night at a bar in some back-woods town. The place burns down, plenty of people probably even die, but the band has it's eyes on something else - a pretty young idiot named Jennifer. You see, it's been said that if you sacrifice a virgin you can make a pretty rad deal with the devil, getting everything you've ever wanted. Too bad for Jennifer she said she was a virgin, and too bad for the town that she actually isn't.
Fearing for her friend, Needy soon finds her at her house looking like a murder victim. After a rather creepy encounter, Jennifer wanders off and goes home, cleaning up and looking far better the next day at school - except something about her is off. The town and school are in a period of mourning for the losses in the bar fire, and it would appear that after school Jennifer wants to console a Jock who's best friend died in the fire. Appearances are deceiving however, and after hearing some suspicious screams a professor stumbles across his torn apart and partially eaten body. People start to get over it with the help of a little band rising to fame and dedicating songs and some profits to the town - a band named Low Shoulder - and about a month later another victim shows up. At this point, we find out that Jennifer is actually a demon needing to feast to stay healthy - but what can be done about it? Beyond that, why is she taking such an interest in Needy's boyfriend? What can happen next?
I'm gonna call it straight and true here, as I usually do (as far as my opinions go - not that my opinions are always hard facts or anything). Whoever wrote most of the dialogue in this movie should feel bad about what they did. It ranges from passable to downright awful, with maybe one or two good lines through the entire runtime. It then becomes confusing, because the acting is actually pretty good, which directly conflicts with how crappy most of the dialogue is - even when saying things that sound like utter dribble, it certainly feels like the actors are putting as much heart into it as possible. I can't comprehend even keeping a straight face through most of what's said, let alone playing it like I actually mean it! This extends to most the cast - even the one-handed professor or the fellow students who crop up for brief moments.
So the acting is good, the dialogue is a wash, but what about that story? Well, it's not like we haven't seen movies about rock bands making deals with the devil before - although most of those never resulted in a high-school succubus that would be the main focus. Of course, the downside to this is that we end up hearing one song "performed" by Low Shoulder about 7 or more times throughout the movie - which is sad because there's a lot of nicer tunes in the background if you like some heavier tunes. Audio levels are done pretty well, there isn't really any issues hearing what you need to hear, although admittedly I also feel I didn't need to sit through the entire first performance of Low Shoulder's bar song. Could have just started that fire a lot faster - although this is actually one of the weakest parts of the story's performance (as in I think it was as well acted as the script probably called for, but it ended up coming off as completely stupid).
Okay okay, what about the effects work? I mean, surely a movie with a succubus killing people off is gonna show a little leg or a couple disemboweled victims right? Well...kind of. There is some violence in this - usually just the aftermath - except one exceptionally creepy "I thought you were kidnapped/dead" scene towards the beginning that's less violent and more paranormal super-vomiting. There's some cuts and the likes, but compared to other movies of it's ilk it's not all that violent (obviously enough to get it an R rating at any rate). As far as sexy times go, there's certainly some suggestive stuff going about along with some dialogue to match - but as far as seeing things going on there is one actual 'sex scene' (which does a cut-and-forth between a murder as its going on) that doesn't actually involve our succubus friend and unless you consider nipple-less shots and private free shots nude, zero actual shown nudity. I am a little disappointed by the lack of one-handed professor backstory/main story involvement though, as it feels odd to have something that distinguished in the movie and not used in some way (although it's nice to see it not go the exploitative route as well). Finally, there are some special effects that happen along the lines of succu-mouth, and although they are passable it's not gonna win any major awards for it without a doubt.
So what's my final verdict here, now that all is said and done? It seems a little hard to call really - I mean, I am really on the fence over the whole good acting and terrible script combination - usually you get both or neither, not one or the other. I mean, I guess it could be worth watching once - I enjoyed most of it, although it would most likely be a lot more enjoyable watching with a group of people and tearing apart the dumber moments in the script than just solo-watching it like I did. I don't think there's gonna be a whole lot of repeat visitors for this movie though - although I could always be wrong there, I just know that I probably won't come back and revisit it. It wasn't terrible - although parts of it were - and it wasn't incredible - although a few moments were - so I guess i'd go with it as being pretty average. Yeah, that sounds about right - it's pretty average with a lot of sexual tones that usually are not delivered upon in an explicit way. Probably scarier for parents with teenagers in the "what are these kids doing in school!" kind of way than anything else. As a final note - creepy smiling Megan Fox is super creepy.