"Jennifer's Body" is a 2009 black comedy horror film written by Diablo Cody and directed by Karyn Kusama. The film stars Megan Fox, Amanda Seyfried, Adam Brody and Johnny Simmons and portrays a newly possessed teenage serial killer specializing in killing her male classmates as her best friend strives to stop her. The film premiered at the 2009 Toronto International Film Festival and was released in the United States and Canada on September 18, 2009. The title is a reference to a song from Hole's album "Live Through This." As a tie-in to the film, Boom! Studios produced a Jennifer's Body graphic novel, released in August 2009.
Working with Cody again following their collabrative efforts on the film "Juno," Jason Reitman stated he and his producers "want to make unusual films." Cody said she wanted the film to speak to female empowerment and explore the complex relationships between best friends.
The film had a disappointing performance at the North American box office, making $2.8 million its opening day and $6.8 million its opening weekend, and received mixed reviews from critics; where negative reviews classified the film as lacking the intensity needed for "true horror" and desperate to be a cult classic, positive reviews praised the film for its "occasionally clever" and often witty dialogue combined with "fun performances" and emotional resonance.
Insecure Anita "Needy" Lesnicki (Amanda Seyfried) and popular flag girl Jennifer Check (Megan Fox) have been best friends since childhood, despite having little in common. One night, Jennifer takes Needy to a local dive bar to attend a concert by indie rock band Low Shoulder. A suspicious fire engulfs the bar, killing several spectators, and Jennifer is taken by the band despite Needy's attempts to stop them. They take her into the woods, and offer her as a virgin sacrifice to Satan in exchange for fame and fortune. However, Jennifer is not a virgin, and when the lead singer Nikolai (Adam Brody) murders her, a demonic spirit takes over her body. Later that evening, Jennifer, covered in blood, appears in Needy's kitchen and proceeds to eat food from the refrigerator. Unable to digest the matter, she vomits a trail of black fluid and then leaves in a hurry as Needy calls after her.
The next morning at school, Jennifer appears fine and shrugs off Needy's concerns. While the small town is devastated by the eight deaths caused by the fire, Jennifer seduces the school's football captain, and then attacks him in the woods, where his bloodied corpse is found later. The band gains popularity due to their rumored heroism during the fire.
A month later, Jennifer is beginning to look pale and accepts an invitation by school goth Colin (Kyle Gallner), only to brutally kill him that night. While Needy and her boyfriend, Chip (Johnny Simmons), engage in sex, Needy senses something dreadful has happened. She leaves in panic and almost runs over Jennifer, covered in blood. She rushes home and finds Jennifer in her bedroom who initiates physical intimacy with her and then explains what happened after the fire.
The next day at school, as the town is stunned by Colin's death, Needy goes to the school library's occult section and surmises that Jennifer is a succubus; she is weakest when she is hungry, and must eat flesh in order to sustain her life and appearance. Needy tells Chip about her discoveries and warns him not to attend the dance. He disbelieves her and she subsequently breaks up with him in order to protect him.
Chip goes to the dance, hoping to meet with Needy, but he is intercepted by Jennifer, who seduces him and takes him to an abandoned pool house. Needy arrives there and finds Jennifer feeding on Chip. Needy tries to drown Jennifer and then helps Chip out of the pool. Jennifer, hovering in the air, attacks Needy but is later stabbed by Chip with a pool skimmer. Jennifer escapes while Needy watches her boyfriend die.
Needy goes to Jennifer's home, enters through the window and attacks Jennifer with a boxcutter; stabbing her in the heart, she kills her. Jennifer's mother (Carrie Genzel) comes in and finds Needy with the boxcutter on top of her daughter's body. Soon after, Needy is committed to an asylum. As she was bitten by Jennifer, she has obtained some of Jennifer's supernatural abilities. Set upon revenge, she escapes the facility and hitchhikes a ride to the band's hotel; there she finds and butchers them all.
Megan Fox was in negotiations to star as Jennifer Check since the film was announced in 2007, and was officially cast in October 2007. Fox said the reason she agreed to the role was her love for the script. "I think what I loved about the movie is it’s so unapologetic and how completely inappropriate it is at all times," she said. "That was my favorite part about the script and about the character. It’s fun to be able to say the shit that she got to say and get away with it and how people find it charming." Asked how acting in a film like this is different than acting in Transformers, Fox said "there’s [no] distractions, like there’s no robots to distract you from whatever performance I do give. So, if it’s terrible, you’re gonna fucking know that it’s really terrible". She said despite this aspect of the business being intimidating, she enjoyed portraying the character. "I wasn’t really sure what I was doing," said Fox. "I was just trying to have fun with it and I felt like I was able to make fun of my own image as to how some people might perceive Megan Fox to be. I was just sort of flying freely and I hope some of it works."
In balancing out the film's horror with humor, Fox said she relied heavily on Diablo Cody's script and Karyn Kusama's direction to pull it off. "I have a very specific sense of humor, things that I think are funny aren't going to fly with middle America," she stated. "It's going to eliminate some of the audience, so you need someone there to tell you you can't do that."
In February 2008, Amanda Seyfried was cast as Anita "Needy" Lesnicki, the "plain Jane" best friend to Fox's character with whom she shares a somewhat lesbian infatuation. Seyfried said it was a relief to play the nerdy character opposite Fox. "Being a lead (like Megan), you have that weird pressure of feeling like you have to look attractive," she stated. "In this movie, I didn't worry about any of that shit. I don't want to play the one that everybody is supposed to want to have sex with."
Chud.com reported that the filmmakers were looking at actual rock band members Pete Wentz of Fall Out Boy and Joel Madden of Good Charlotte to portray male lead Nikolai Wolf. Also considered was actor Chad Michael Murray. In March 2008, actor Johnny Simmons was reportedly cast as Nikolai. However, Adam Brody was officially cast in the role of Nikolai, while Simmons was then given the role of Chip Dove. Brody said he did not do his own vocals. "My singing voice is still going through puberty," he said. "They gave me a singing lesson or two, and it’s not the worst thing in the world, but it’s not anything anyone would choose to hear."
Additional cast members include J. K. Simmons as Mr. Wroblewski, Kyle Gallner as Colin Gray, Amy Sedaris as Toni Lesnicki, Cynthia Stevenson as Mrs. Dove, Carrie Genzel as Mrs. Check, Juan Riedinger as Dirk, Chris Pratt as Officer Roman Duda, Juno Ruddell as Officer Warzak, Keegan Sigurnjak as Meek School Nerd, Aman Johal as Ahmet from India, Josh Emerson as Jonas Konelle and Lance Henriksen as the driver near the end of film. A number of supporting and minor roles were filled by supporting and minor cast members from Jason Reitman's previous films "Thank You for Smoking" and "Juno," including Simmons, Brody, Johal and Valerie Tian.