Jennifer’s Body (Film) Review

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Last week’s pick wasn’t entirely successful, though the mantra “At least it wasn’t as bad as The Monkey’s Paw reverberated across the pond quite a lot, to put things into perspective.

This week is my choice and I’ve inadvertently brought you to an almost identical story line (oopsy).

How does it compare though and was it better at least? Well… read on my pretties and I’ll happily give you my thoughts.

*Spoilers everywhere, yo!*

Jennifer’s Body (2009)

Director: Karyn Kusama
Stars: Megan Fox, Amanda Seyfried, Adam Brody, J.K. Simmons, Johnny Simmons

IMDB Synopsis: A newly possessed high school cheerleader turns into a succubus who specializes in killing her male classmates. Can her best friend put an end to the horror?

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Moody

My Review:

Anita “Needy” Lesnicki (Seyfried) is in an institution, where she sits and doesn’t do that much. She might be combing a doll’s hair when we meet her but I might have imagined that part.

She has major issues, and once she’s punched a well-meaning warden/councilor in the mouth and told her to mind her own fucking business, that much is apparent. She hasn’t always been this way she assures us, before filling us in on the tale of how she got there.

It’s a pretty good back story as far as back stories go.

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Hands up if you’re a fitty

We start with Jennifer. Beautiful, popular Jennifer (Fox) who, despite these qualities, still has time to be BFFs with Needy who’s not so much ‘those things’ (yeah right, Seyfried in ‘ugly’ attire). Needy’s a nerd who seems to be nice to everyone with an adoring boyfriend, Chip (Johnny Simmons). But the friends are tight, so tight in fact that they get accused of being lesbians by their classmates, who just don’t get it at all. 

Jennifer isn’t low maintenance though and easily manipulates Needy into doing the things she wants. What she wants that evening is for Needy to go to the local dive bar to see a band she loves called Low Shoulder. She has her eye on the ‘salty’ lead singer and assures Needy there’ll be plenty of salty types around for her too (despite Chip, who Jen is indifferent to).

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“Yeah… nice hair?”

The evening starts uneventfully, though Needy gets a bad vibe from the band, especially Nikolai (Brody) who’s only too happy to accommodate an enthusiastic Jennifer. Needy (who has a sixth sense when it comes to her bestie) overhears them discussing Jennifer’s virginity status and tells her to stay away. Sadly, Jennifer is not swayed.

As the band play, the bar starts to burn (in a freak accident, although given the context of this storyline it might not be so accidental). As people die horribly, Needy and Jennifer manage to get out unscathed, though Jen is understandably shell-shocked.

The band too are remarkably unharmed by the carnage around them and suggest that the girls get into their van to get over their shock. Needy senses danger but somehow lets Jennifer go with them, all on her own.

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Smokin’

After an uneasy evening spent worrying about Jennifer, Needy receives a dramatic visit from her BFF, who looks like something truly awful has happened to her. She’s acting bizarrely and vomits up some disgusting black tar which happens to have undulating spikes running through it.

She asks Needy if she’s scared (funnily enough, that’s a yes) and then disappears, leaving Needy to mop up her alien puke. What are BFFs for, eh?

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Typical Friday night

Next day in school, everyone’s devastated about the fire, which has claimed a lot of student and teacher’s lives.  Needy is petrified something awful has happened to Jennifer (you don’t say) but Jen rocks up looking better than ever and ribs her rather unkindly about her looks.

Jennifer seems fine but she’s also become über bitchy. She’s also acting decidedly out of character, as we find out when she singles out a grieving jock and leads him into the woods behind the school. Let’s just say he doesn’t get what he thinks he’s going to get. Also, the woodland wildlife seem very taken with Jennifer too.

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Sweet girl

Needy is worried about the change in Jennifer which is fucking fabulous one minute and sick as a dog the next. It soon becomes clear that our Jen is gaining vital nutrients from a certain type of food and that food has a human face (male, if we’re being specific). If she doesn’t get her human fix she looks dog rough. Or, as Needy puts it, rough for Jennifer.

On one of her down days, Colin (Kyle Gallner), a class mate, asks Jennifer on a date. She isn’t that kind to him if we’re honest but changes her mind when Needy says she thinks he’s cool. Jennifer also says things to Needy about her boyfriend suddenly looking cuter and I hated her at this point (too much like my own school days).

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Run, Colin, Run!

Needy decides to have sex with Chip, perhaps to keep him safe from Jennifer’s clutches. While they enjoy their first sexual liaison, Jennifer kills the goth kid horribly. He’s so sweet that if any one of them doesn’t deserve to die a violent death it’s this guy. But alas.

While humping Chip, Needy suffers hallucinations about Jennifer and realises that something is very much not right (you don’t say). Later on Jen turns up at Needy’s and they argue before Jennifer tells her exactly what happened to her on the night of the fire.

Basically, Low Shoulder took her to the woods and sacrificed her to the Devil. All she remembers is that she told them she was a virgin (lies) and they killed her in a ritual. Later, she woke up and made her way to Needy’s house.

She also explains that she’d been so hungry that night but couldn’t bring herself to hurt Needy, which is big of her I think. She did however eat an exchange student, who everybody thought was killed in the fire. Oopsy.

Then the girls have a good old snog (this might have been before the heart to heart) and it’s clear that Needy has a bit of a thing about Jennifer because she’s so intoxicating and who can blame her? She still kicks her out on account of all the death and murder though.

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*MWAHHHHHHHHHHHH*

I lost it a little bit here but the gist of things is that Needy looks into Jennifer’s story a little deeper and works out that her best friend is possessed by a demon (I think mine might have been too). Since she was sacrificed in place of a real virgin (as Jennifer says of herself, “I’m not even a back door virgin anymore.”), the demon stuck around inside her (look I don’t make the rules).

I think the band made a pact with the devil as their deal is now that they’re world famous (not hurt by the fact that they’ve allowed the town of Devil’s Kettle, where all this is kicking off, think they rescued a load of people from the burning bar. Their single “Through the trees” has also become the official charity single for the tragedy).

I have to admit I didn’t really pay much attention to the band until later on, because they’re pretty 2D and boring. Anyway, they’re crazy famous now and loving it. They’re also due to come back actually and perform at the school prom (oh what, there’s a prom?).

Needy has banned her boyfriend Chip from going to the prom himself but has also broken up with him as she fears for his safety. She’s also told him her theory about Jennifer’s demonic possession, which he doesn’t believe. It’s pretty sad as they’re an adorable couple and you want them to get out unscathed.

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You’ve got red on you

Prom night comes around (course it does) and Needy heads to the “All you can eat buffet” to stop Jennifer’s rampant hunger, thinking Chip is safe at home. Chip is not safe at home, as he’s decided to go to the dance anyway. BIG MISTAKE CHIP! HUGE!

I might leave the climax here for shits n’ gigs and so you can watch for yourself should you choose to. To the Questions!

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“You dancin’?”

Questions:

Will Needy and Chip survive? What will become of our best friends? Is there a cure for violent demon-ism?

Will those horrible band members get their comeuppance? Why do men never listen when you’re clearly right (Chip)?

Why are no high school movies ever quite as good as Heathers (1988)?

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Hot stuff

My Thoughts:

What attracted me to this is that it’s written by Juno (2007) and Young Adult (2011)’s Diablo Cody who I mostly enjoy. I thought with that kind of pedigree it would at least have thoughtful moments and not be a pile of steaming shit. It isn’t shit actually, I think the performances are pretty good, particularly our leads who seem to relish their parts. A lot of the observations are spot on and a few moments between our frenemies are genuinely witty, particularly when they come head to head in the disgusting abandoned swimming pool (oooooh!).

The thing about Cody is that she has a slightly off way of making young people sound just a touch too precocious (looking at you Juno) but for the most part the dialogue works here. You can tell which ‘hip’ words she really worked hard on to seem current though, which is reminiscent of me speaking to anybody under 25.

As with most movies, I always want more without knowing what that actually is. I liked that it touches upon very normal teenage emotion such as insecurity and that thin line between utter devotion to your best friend and pure hatred. If I close my eyes I can still conjure up that feeling, that there’s just a hair’s breadth between the two.

I like that, underneath her fresh demonic demeanor, Jennifer is just a girl scared of losing, of not being the most desired or loved, and of not having what her best friend has.

The best bit by the way is the very ending, after the credits start to roll, when Needy seeks revenge on Low Shoulder for what they did to Jennifer. It’s beautiful shot and macabre as shit. Lovely.

Both main leads are also smoking hot, which doesn’t hurt.

My Rating: 3.5/5. Interesting in parts.

Did my wife want to tongue kiss this movie, or sacrifice it to the dark arts? Find out here

Ava’s Possessions (Film) Review 

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I loved last week’s film choice so much that I got confused as to whose turn it was to pick this week. I should have known Jill would never leave it to the very last minute like I would (and do). So this week is my choice and luckily I had this film waving at me from my Netflix list already.

Someone I follow on Twitter also shared some vastly different cover artwork which piqued my interest in this film. I’ve shared it below.

Since we’re doing B Movies this week I did worry this isn’t strictly appropriate but then I shrugged and carried on with my day because, so? Our blog collab, our rules.

Anyway, enough intro hooey from me. Enjoy the review. *Spoilers!*

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Some of the coolest poster art in a while

Ava’s Possessions (2015)

Director: Jordan Galland
Stars: 
Carol Kane, William Sadler,

IMDB Synopsis: A young woman recovers from a demonic possession.

My Review:

Ava wakes up in her apartment after 28 days of being possessed by a demon. We’ve all be there, amirite? Go for one drink on a Friday night after work, wake up a month later feeling like you’ve done ten rounds with Beelzebub? I feel you, girrrl.

Now demon-free (or is she?), Ava’s family are milling around being all pissy about how she chooses to live (it’s a fucking loft style space with raw walls and furniture made out of breeze blocks, that she lives in alone, not too shabby at all). But still they tell her to sort her life out.

If we’re honest with ourselves, they’re all pretty caj about the fact their loved one has just had to have a demon driven out of her body but I’ve not been in this position myself (yet) so what do I know?

Ava’s ma in particular has a lot to say about said possession, implying that Ava should look on it as a wake-up call. She’s bitchy and wearing an eye patch, which for now remains unexplained. Also present are dad, Ava’s sister and her drippy fiancé, Roger.

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All this possession really takes it out of you…

So Ava is left to slowly put her life back together. Not just that but to piece together what exactly the fuck she did while possessed. Her rap sheet is pretty long and she’s looking at some substantial jail time for damage and assault (among other things) unless she agrees to go to Possessed People Anonymous.

Her friends are also wary of her since witnessing some of her wilder behaviours (fucking her friend’s boyfriend, general debauchery) and she’s been dumped by her boyfriend so she goes along to PPA to see what’s what. There’s a handbook she’s supposed to read before she attends her first session but she’s just not that into the whole concept really.

She gets reprimanded for being late on her first day and told off for using the ‘D’ word, which is ‘Demon’ btw, not ‘Dick’. But she witnesses rather a dramatic scene in which the program leader has one of the participants trussed up in chains, battling with her demon in full view of the rest of the group, which cures her of any skepticism.

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In POSSESSION of some pretty good resting bitch face

The drill is that each ‘possessed’ person has to learn to tear off a mystical amulet (which also summons their demon back, eek) whilst in the throes of being taken over. Basically, this rehabilitation is to teach the possessed how to not let the demon have total control over them, if they can’t stop the actual possession. Phew.

“I did a Youtube make-up tutorial, dya like it?”

It’s quite endearing to hear the rest of the group talk about their personal demons, and Ava makes a friend who actually likes hers and wants him back. Which is a vastly different story to the rest of them but to each their own.

When at home, Ava finds an engraved Rolex in her sofa, to someone called Conrad and wonders how it got there, and who Conrad might be. She’s also dubious about the time she was possessed, after finding a hastily covered up blood stain on her living room floor. She thinks there’s more to the story and that her family might be too scared to tell her what it is.

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“You should meet me at Christmas. I’m a real hoot.”

A lot happens throughout this unravelling of Ava’s story but the gist is that she tracks down Conrad’s son, who she ends up becoming entangled with (AKA some casual boning). She keeps getting possessed by her demon, unwittingly helps her new rehab friend evoke her demon again by dabbling in witchcraft and meets the Ghost of motherfucking Christmas Present.

She also gets threatened by a pimp, who she previously encountered whilst possessed and meets a hooker who not only knows her verrry well but seems able to help her get to the bottom of what the actual fudge is going down.

Meanwhile, things are not what they seem within the family and Ava’s instinct that her mother in particular knows more than she’s letting on is proven correct.

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“Pretty sure Anna Wintour said narrow belts are in for the Summer…”

Questions:

What really happened to Ava during her possession? Who the fuck is Conrad? What’s her mother’s beef and why the eye patch, yo?

Will Ava put her life back together again with the help of her rehab stint? What does her new witchy tattoo mean?

What’s the living shit is going ON?!

Watch and find out for yourselves, especially if you’re partial to demonic behaviour. Who isn’t frankly?

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Sleep when I’m dead

My Thoughts:

I’ve had an absolute nightmare typing up this review due to my laptop being possessed by a virus, so it’s shorter than normal. It might be better for it though, who knows? I liked this film maybe a little more now I’ve rethought about it, though it’s by no means perfect.

I like the twist at the end which isn’t that surprising and I like the concept of having to piece together events rather than concentrating solely on the possession itself. Ava’s demon is quite awful with a distinctive drumming announcing his impending arrival though this film isn’t scary. In a sense I was expecting more Drag Me To Hell (2009)/Jennifer’s Body (also 2009) style high jinx and I was left wanting.

Performances were okay. It was only okay. Sadly those awesome posters are the best thing I will take from this experience. I ain’t mad at you Ava but you could’ve been better.

My Rating: 3.5/5. Not bad. Not amazeballs.

What did Jill think? Was she possessed with joy by this movie choice, or would she prefer to exorcise it from her memory forever? Find out here

I’ve been shoddy about names and links in this review, so please forgive me. Excellent attention to detail will return next week. Peace.

PS: Jill and I will not be film blogging next weekend, as I have something I need to do and Jill will be FLYING TO THE UK! But we’ll do something film-based to mark our time together, mark my words.

Bite Me: The Girl With All The Gifts Review

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Photograph is not mine

*** Chance of Spoilers! ***

This isn’t the kind of story I would ordinarily be attracted to but something about the introduction appealed and I am so glad that I picked it up.

Pun intended, I devoured this book hungrily.

I don’t want to give too much away, and although it’s not really a twist you won’t see coming, I think the less you know about the plot, the more impact it will have on you.

Described on the back cover as “Kazuo Ishiguro meets The Walking Dead” I knew I was in for a treat. I love a bit of dystopian future and although Science Fiction is a hard one for me to really embrace, the idea of it being clinical and dark, much like Never Let Me Go was what inspired me to part with my pennies.

Ordinarily, for the record, statements that compare new works to existing works (or trumpet something to be ‘the new something’) bug me big time. It seems lazy and although I understand the purpose of doing it, the rebel in me wants to decide for herself. In this case I would say this proclamation is pretty spot on.

I liked the fact that the central character is a young girl. Melanie is Test Subject #1, whose gift of hyper-intellect sets her apart from her young counterparts, or class mates as they really are. This may or may not turn out to be a good thing. She is a great heroine and a well crafted character even at the tender age of ten. Mark my words, she will break your heart.

Again, it’s hard for me to talk about the characters without giving the game away but you’ll meet Ed Parks, hard wired tough guy who is really only interested in leaving no man behind. There’s ruthless Caroline Caldwell, big hearted but secretive Helen Justineau and green behind the ears, Kieran Gallagher.

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Photograph is not mine

Central to the plot is a touching reflection on the maternal instinct but also redemption. Can you make up for something really really bad by saving a life? It’s an upsetting theme but I feel for all those involved, in fact I feel something for all the characters, who all have their own demons to deal with. Even mega bitch Caldwell, whose twisted mission to save an all but extinct race is awe-inspiring in itself.

As I was curled up reading this book, which at times is quite gory and also made me a bit jumpy, I kept thinking how much Mr Bee would like it. Then I Wiki’d its author, M.R. Carey who has written a lot of the comics that Mr Bee is into and it made perfect sense.

The language is so vivid that you feel as though you are part of proceedings and it feels like TGWATG would make a compelling movie as well as graphic novel. In some ways I hope it stays under the radar because I love it so much. But in a genre that has been very popular in recent years, particularly on the small screen and in Hollywood, it’s nice to get a different perspective, and although the book is written from multiple points of view, I feel like Carey nails feminine and childlike psyches quite well.

Read it. It’s a bit tense and a lot scary in places. If you’re not into The Walking Dead or 28 Days Later‘s themes, maybe you shouldn’t.

But this would be a good place to start.

Book details: