Ladies-directed horror movies have seen a gradual uptick in reputation over the previous decade. A style usually related to a “boys membership” of creators (like a lot of cinema, actually), horror has been the birthing floor for a number of the most ingenious and curious minds.
Horror has been no totally different for feminine administrators. Have a look at movies similar to Jennifer Kent’s The Babadook, Ana Lily Amirpour’s genre-blending A Lady Walks Dwelling Alone at Evening, Julia Ducournau’s Uncooked and her 2021 sci-fi movie Titane. There is no such thing as a scarcity of extraordinary and boundary-pushing horror movies helmed by girls filmmakers.
To not say girls filmmakers haven’t flourished earlier than the previous decade, however the final 10 years have seen them thrive. And with a rise in vocal assist, we’ve additionally seen many once-disregarded movies get a brand new lease on life, just like the cult hit The Slumber Celebration Bloodbath. One of many brightest re-evaluations, nevertheless, has been Karyn Kusama’s 2009 movie Jennifer’s Physique, starring Megan Fox.
Written by Diablo Cody (Juno) and dripping with all of the hazardous mid-to-late 2000’s iconography — from the layered tops to the Fall Out Boy poster and the soundtrack that may play your native Sizzling Matter and Warped Tour — Jennifer’s Physique is an ideal encapsulation of a weird, transitional time. Given the season and our never-ending penchant for nostalgia, there isn’t any higher time than now to stream the cult-favorite thriller on Amazon Prime Video.
Whereas Jennifer’s Physique stays true to its aesthetic, the movie’s remedy of its feminine leads is noteworthy. Following two greatest mates, Jennifer (Fox) and Anita, aka Needy (performed by Amanda Seyfried), the movie tracks the previous’s descent after a demon possesses her throughout a sacrifice gone awry. Jennifer should fulfill her new urge for food for human (boy) flesh to maintain her look full of life, alluring, and luminescent. As soon as Anita learns Jennifer’s secret, she vows to finish her demonic pal’s carnage.
Many critics have written about how great this movie is and the way woefully misjudged it was upon its preliminary launch. Deservedly, Jennifer’s Physique is price fawning over. From how Jennifer and Anita costume to how they speak, the film playfully nods on the vixen-and-virgin tropes whereas making putting comparisons between demon possession and teenage hormones.
The humor can also be biting, particularly in its gleeful evisceration of the “good man” archetype embodied superbly by Adam Brody publish The O.C. fame. And the movie doesn’t draw back from physique horror, permitting Fox to play a task that defines after which subverts the usual magnificence beliefs she was all the time compelled to play up in different motion pictures.
Considered one of Jennifer Physique’s biggest and extra re-contextualized themes is how the film doesn’t weaponize or sexualize the feminine physique. Whereas we witness Jennifer below bodily duress in the course of the sacrifice, it isn’t the spine of her plot and even the central side of that individual scene. As an alternative, director Karyn Kusama depicts Jennifer as emboldened and threatening. Fox, an actress usually exploited solely for her appears to be like, makes use of her look in a manner that makes her really feel like a viable risk. She’s intimidating, not due to her femininity however for a way she’s realized to make use of it after being victimized.
One other side of the movie that units it aside is the subversion of its two main characters. Seyfried’s character Anita in one other film can be offered because the virtuous, angelic virgin — the sunshine to Fox’s darkish — and the healthful foil to Fox’s extra seductive and sexually assertive character. Nonetheless, the primary moments of the movie neatly make Anita nearly unlikable. As an alternative of being the prototype protagonist, Anita is self-centered, boastful, and needlessly violent.
Screenwriter Diablo Cody, utilizing dated terminology that wouldn’t move any radar in 2021), nonetheless manages to really feel purposeful in how shallow and careless the characters are of their insults to at least one one other. Cody barrels by stereotypes as a method for Jennifer’s character to repeatedly rework. Whereas different movies used the jock or the delicate artwork scholar for narrative construction, the film makes use of them as fodder.
Kusama brings shocking coronary heart to the horror film by exploring the grey areas of Anita and Jennifer’s relationship. The scene the place the 2 mates kiss may have been stereotypically tantalizing, however whereas it’s undoubtedly shot in a technique to be provocative, it isn’t for the sake of low-cost thrills.
What makes the second so alluring and distinctive is how it’s the end result of the earlier scenes, the place Anita acquired intimate along with her boyfriend and Jennifer dedicated one other homicide. The stark distinction between the women’ experiences and seeing them come collectively for a fleeting second signifies how their chemistry and connection transcend sandbox nostalgia.
Whilst Jennifer and Anita’s friendship turns into difficult and fraught whereas the world round them turns extra sinister with the specter of the supernatural, their bond stays the true coronary heart of the movie. Crass because the movie could also be at occasions, their friendship anchors Jennifer’s Physique sufficient to permit for its extra flippant moments.
After all, Jennifer’s Physique is about demons, however extra precisely, it’s about how we deal with change and the way friendship develops over time with or towards these adjustments. Regardless of weathering the shifting social statuses, pursuits, and even tastes in boys, Anita and Jennifer had an unbreakable bond. It was solely as soon as Jennifer’s insecurities manifested themselves (on this case, within the type of a man-eating demon) that Anita started to have second ideas.
The movie serves as a overtly humorous and comically dated have a look at the sheer quantity of rubbish girls undergo. At occasions, it’s a haunting and compelling horror movie, different occasions a deliciously scathing takedown of the “good man” tradition of that period. As a rule, it’s a wholesome mix of each.
In the end, Jennifer’s Physique by no means permits us to neglect how friendship might be the beating and bloody coronary heart of an important horror movie.
Jennifer’s Physique is now streaming on Amazon Prime for free via IMDb TV.
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