Before I get into the film Jennifer's Body, I want to flash back a couple of years to another TIFF, when a little-known gem called Juno burst onto the big screen, winning rave reviews, and garnering some major awards, thus becoming the Little Movie That Could, and capturing hearts all over the place. I saw Juno premiere at TIFF that year, and had chosen it simply because of its lead actor, Ellen Page. The girl had already impressed the heck outta me in Hard Candy and, though I sort of feared her, I also wanted to see what else she could pull off when she switched to another genre. I wasn't disappointed, to be sure. But that year, that screening, also managed to spark an unexpected love in me for its writer, Diablo Cody.
So when The Hatter told me that Diablo was writing a horror movie, I was instantly on board. Nothing else mattered other than the fact that one of my new favourite writers was writing a script in one of my all-time favourite genres. I was sold from the get-go.
I kept half an eye on the film as it developed, but didn't want to know too much. I wanted to be surprised. The first chance I got, I quickly bought my ticket for the screening, and eagerly awaited the film's premiere as TIFF's opening night Midnight Madness selection this year.
The film centres on odd-couple BFF's who, in addition to being complete opposites in life, also happen to be a little...closer...than most. There's Needy, the mousy, nerdy quiet girl that (with the exception of her boyfriend, Chip) every guy ignores, and Jennifer, the hot, spontaneous, outrageous, confident and rebellious girl that every guy would die for.
And, as it turns out, they get their wish.
Without giving too much away, everything changes for both girls one fateful night at a local bar, where they've gone to watch a 'salty' band from the city perform. Tragedy strikes, suddenly and unexpectedly (as it does), and changes the lives of everyone in their little town.
Adam Brody is hilariously self-absorbed, slightly vacuous, and ultimately focused all at once...though with perhaps a mildly creepy fascination with his van...
Aside from the possible crazy circus of having a Megan Fox as the title character (in fact, she actually turned out to be sort of perfect for the role, and pulls it off with a finesse one may not realize she was capable of), and beyond the quiet brilliance of Amanda Seyfried's performance as the lead, and of course not discounting the solid direction of Karyn Kusama bringing out the best in everyone who graced the screen in this film - ALL of that aside, I was really there primarily for Diablo Cody. Her unique and singular voice can tell a story like no other, and few can touch her in the one-liner department. She's beautiful, quirky, intelligent, unashamed, unapologetic and completely irreverent. Cody has carved out a new voice in the world of horror, simultaneously paying homage to the classics while somehow also managing to create something no one has ever seen before. In a world of Hollywood-ized remakes, where a film's soul can literally get lost in the translation, Diablo Cody and Kusama together have accomplished what horror fans around the world have been aching for, and yet finding so little of, particularly in more recent years. They've created something new.
Written and directed by women, and featuring two strong women in the lead roles, this film is, refreshingly, for everyone. As producer Jason Reitman put it, the film's premiere played like a rock concert. Personally, I can't wait to see it again.