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Fox, Cody, Kusama, Reitman Talk Jennifer's Body

by Anne Thompson
August 10, 2009 7:32 AM
  • |
Thompson on Hollywood

The prospects for smart horror comedies are dicey. Audiences tend to get confused when their genres get too mixed up: are they supposed to laugh or be terrified? Look at the lackluster summer b.o. for Sam Raimi's Drag Me to Hell. Mixing sex and horror is also risky, as the feminist thriller comedy Teeth proved.

The lucky break for the coming-of-age horror thriller Jennifer's Body (due September 18 from Fox) is that besides being able to sell "Academy Award-winning screenwriter of Juno" (an odd pedigree for an exploitation B-film), the movie stars Megan Fox. The babe is hot off back-to-back Transformers movies (and won a "hottie" Teen Choice Award), and as these Comic-Con press conference clips prove, the girl is perfectly capable of working a room. (She was also impressive at the conference for Jonah Hex, one of the more compelling movies at the Con, a western starring Josh Brolin.) Fox plays a bloodthirsty demon who kills her seducers. "Before every kill, a seduction occurs," Fox explained. "The boys have to be seduced to get close enough to this dead girl for the demon to get them." Fox also promised a hint of lesbianism. "There's a girl-on-girl kiss," she said. "You better put on your fucking sexy shoes for this."

While the 16 minutes of footage from the beginning of the film shown at Comic-Con left me on the fence about the movie (which makes its full-length debut at the Toronto Film Festival), I'm betting that the sex appeal of Fox, Cody and producer Jason Reitman will counteract whatever serious factor director Karyn Kusama (Girlfight, Aeron Flux) brings to the table. Even she describes the movie as "a fairy tale gone psycho." Cody admitted that she started out writing straight horror but promises a new spin: "You've never seen this particular post-modern thriller sub-genre done with girls."

Here's the red-band trailer and the 15-minute press conference at Comic-Con, broken into three parts:

Jennifer's Body - Red Band Trailer
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  • CJ | August 11, 2009 6:37 AMReply

    The issue with Drag Me to Hell wasn't the creative mixing of genres, it was the bad release date and the poor marketing campaign. The film should have been released in October around Halloween. Instead, they put it in competition with about 4 summer blockbusters on a weekend where it didn't stand a chance of gaining any momentum.

    The film has been critically-acclaimed, so it's not an issue about the quality of the filmmmaking -- in fact, allegedly Quentin Tarantino has called the film his "favorite of the year." If there were any justice in the universe, Raimi would be nominated for an Academy Award for a whole career of consistently edgy and ground-breaking films. But horror films get "ghetto-ized" and rarely compete, even though many times they are much better at utilizing "true" directing skills than their dramatic counterparts.

  • Andoni | August 10, 2009 10:08 AMReply

    You know, it does remind me vaguely of Teeth, and I'm not fully sure what to make of this movie. Could be fun, could be good, could be tacky and awful, but even then, it looks like it will probably be entertaining. If nothing else, I would expect some heavy opening weekend box office pull. We'll see...

  • Deaf Indian Muslim Anarchist | August 10, 2009 2:15 AMReply

    I think Jennifer's Body looks hilarious and awesome. Kudos to Diablo Cody for breaking the screenwriting "typecasting" mold. Can't wait to see what she's got next in the pipeline.

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