JENNIFER'S BODY A TRIBUTE TO THE "POWERS OF ESTROGEN"
Jennifer's Body, written by Diablo Cody and directed by Karyn Kusama, premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival last night. According to the Los Angeles Times' Mark Olsen, Kusama introduced the film, and named Carrie, Heathers, and A Nightmare On Elm Street as inspirations. She added that Jennifer's Body is intended as a tribute to the "powers of estrogen," according to Olsen. Cody herself counts Suspiria and Carrie as two of her favorite horror films, according to Canwest's Katherine Monk. A blogger who goes by the name tchadmag enjoyed the film, and feels that the fact that it was made by women sets it apart from Carrie and Heathers:
I think Jennifer’s Body is actually an original, funny, and smart horror film, and what it demonstrates most clearly to me is the difference between someone writing a horror film because they genuinely love the genre and its potential or someone writing a horror film because they’re “hot.” In her introductory comments, director Karyn Kusama invoked such films as Carrie and Heathers, and certainly she’s made a movie that exists on a continuum with those films, but with one profound difference, one that is part of what makes Jennifer’s Body so interesting. Those films were made by guys about teenage girls. This is a movie by women, both writing and directing, and anyone who wants to argue that Dan Waters has a better grasp on teenage girls than Cody does, or that Brian De Palma understands the psychology of high school girls better than Kusama… well, I ain’t buying it. There is something to be said about writing to your own experience, and one of the reasons I consider Jennifer’s Body to be a better-than-average example of the genre is because so much care has been paid to making these kids feel authentic.
However, Screen Daily's Tim Grierson feels that Kusama's indifference to the genre led to unsure filmmaking:
Despite its selling points, however, Jennifer’s Body can’t help but feel unsatisfying. Part of the problem comes from the filmmakers’ noticeable superiority to the genre they’re working in. Jennifer’s murderous acts lack tension and are shot rather perfunctorily, as if Kusama is contemptuous of horror movie conventions but is unsure how best to parody them.
TWO MORE LOOKS AT CARRIE
John Kenneth Muir continues his weekly look at De Palma's cinema with an essay posted today about Carrie. Meanwhile, inspired by the De Palma Blog-A-Thon at Cinema Viewfinder, Jordan Ruimy at Suspicious Kind named his three favorite De Palma films: Blow Out, Carrie, and Carlito's Way. Of Carrie, Ruimy writes, "There's an abandon in the filmmaking that I don't think De Palma ever achieved again- a fearless, joyous abandon that makes you realize how talented the man truly is."