Karyn Kusama: Watching ‘Jennifer’s Body’ Only Get Marketed to Teen Boys Was Painful

With the Christmas release of her well-reviewed crime drama “Destroyer” right around the corner, director Karyn Kusama spent some time with Buzzfeed looking back at one of her most misunderstood releases: “Jennifer’s Body.” The horror film, written by “Juno” Oscar winner Diablo Cody and starring Megan Fox and Amanda Seyfried, was a critical and box office misfire when it opened in September 2009. Nine years later, Kusama and Body told Buzzfeed part of the issue with the release was the divide between their intentions with the film and 20th Century Fox’s marketing campaign.

“I wrote it for girls,” Cody said. “If a guy wrote a movie with the line ‘hell is a teenage girl,’ I would reject that. But I’m allowed to say it because I was one. I think the fact that we were a female creative team gave us permission to make observations about some of the more toxic aspects of female friendship.”

Cody and Kusama made “Jennifer’s Body” to appeal to young women the same age as the main characters played by Fox and Seyfried, but they noticed while they were in post production that Fox was only interested in marketing the film by capitalizing on Fox’s sex appeal. Fox was coming off the blockbuster success of Michael Bay’s “Transformers,” and Kusama told Buzzfeed she was horrified to watch “Jennifer’s Body” be marketed based on Fox’s emerging sex symbol status.

“I kept sort of reminding everybody, ‘Guys, we can’t market this movie to boys,’” Kusama said, “and then have them go to the theater expecting one thing and then seeing Megan Fox not really take off her clothes but rip a guy’s intestines out and eat them.”

Kusama revealed to Buzzfeed one especially disturbing marketing idea for the movie was to have Fox host an amateur porn site to promote the film. The studio released a poster for the movie with a scantily clad Fox and the tagline, “She’s got a taste for bad boys,” which promoted Kusama and Cody to tap Fox and ask for the reasoning behind the decision to market the film this way.

“The email wasn’t even grammatically correct,” Cody said about the studio’s reply. “The response said, ‘Jennifer sexy, she steal your boyfriend.’ As if a caveman had written it. So that’s what we were dealing with.”

Read more – Karyn Kusama: Watching ‘Jennifer’s Body’ Only Get Marketed to Teen Boys Was Painful – IndieWire

‘Jennifer’s Body’ Would Kill if It Came Out Today

Jennifer’s Body should have made a bigger splash when it came out in 2009. As we approach Halloween, nearly 10 years on, it’s worth considering that its themes of abuse, empowerment and accountability would likely be a winning formula with horror movie critics in the #MeToo era.

The film has a Mean Girls irreverence, mixed with the dark quirkiness of Ginger Snaps, two cult titles it comfortably holds its own against. It was also penned by Diablo Cody, who was fresh off her Oscar win for fan-favourite Juno. And with solid direction from Karyn Kusama and great performances from both main and supporting cast members (Megan Fox and J.K. Simmons especially), it’s frankly baffling that it was cast aside as B-grade genre trash.

The film currently holds a 44 percent freshness rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with an even lower 34 percent audience score. Even the critics who liked it tended to categorize it as a fairly empty bit of entertainment, riffing on the teen horror genre just enough to keep you distracted for 102 minutes.

But it’s a far more compelling and important movie than that.

Fox plays the titular Jennifer, a high school cheerleader and popular girl who goes to see big city indie band Low Shoulder (think a cross between the Killers and Dashboard Confessional) at a local dive bar with her best friend Needy. Something’s off about the band though, led by The O.C.’s Adam Brody, who takes an interest in Jennifer, speculating with his bandmates on whether she’s a virgin. During the show, the bar burns down suspiciously—the musicians seem pretty unsurprised and unbothered, and all make it out without a scratch. With several Devil’s Kettle citizens dead or unaccounted for, Jennifer agrees to get a ride to safety with the band, against Needy’s protests.

Jennifer comes back changed after the show. With the town reeling from the fire, she’s oddly chipper, until she starts to get “hungry.” We learn later what Low Shoulder did, which involved sacrificing a virgin to a demon. Only trouble is, Jennifer wasn’t a virgin, so something went wrong, and she came back with supernatural powers and an appetite for human flesh.

Read More – ‘Jennifer’s Body’ Would Kill if It Came Out Today – Vice

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