One of the films I probably shouldn’t write a review of is Jennifer’s Body. Jennifer is a high school student, supposedly every boy’s dream date, who does what students do, goes where students go and behaves how students behave. Moreover, a lot of it looks as if the camera was some girl’s eyes showing you her understanding of the world, and reality that surrounds her. I’ve no business having an opinion on any of that.
But what if I’m like Machine Gun Kelly, who kept Megan Fox’s poster on his wall during noughties? Would that make me eligible to writing and publishing a review of late noughties’ film that deals with dating related issues of most high school students? Moreover, if a significant part of the plot has to do with a rock band trying to make it in the scene?
Ok, that part about me keeping Megan Fox’s poster would be a lie; last time I had a poster on my wall it was Arch Enemy’s album cover, so I guess I’m not really Machine Gun Kelly, at least not when it comes to the preference regarding posters. But the rock band part... Well, my friends and foes; unlike the part about interpersonal relationships of high school girls, I don’t feel like I’d need to question my eligibility to opinion here.
The idea of making a sacrifice in order to achieve a desired goal is as old as human. Of course, we could argue that the concept of sacrifice can be observed in nature in general with animals breaking free from traps by sacrificing parts of their bodies, or sacrificing their young to avoid being caught, and killed by predators. But, while in kingdom of animals this is always about immediate threat to animal’s life, man has developed the idea that there is something, or someone else that ultimately decides what’s going to come to pass, and an offering can be used as a means to appease this abstract being (or beings) for it to be favourable in regards to particular project; which is to say, an offering is offered to ensure the survival of an idea in a material form.
Jennifer’s body is chosen to become a sacrifice, alas only in the minds of some misguided young and ambitious dudes with music instruments and a van. Normally sacrifice is something noble, and even sacred, but none of that applies to Jennifer’s case. Instead she is an unwilling and unaware victim, who at no point is part of the team offering sacrifice. This probably is intended as a cautionary tale for girls to think twice before getting into vans with guys they know only as celebrities of whatever scale, and not as people in everyday life situations, but I felt like I needed to write something about the difference between sacrifice and offering here; not least because the film doesn’t seem to regard this detail as something important. A scene that stuck in my mind most vividly was one where Jennifer is in the van, spotting book titles that contain words “occult” and “witches”, and the question she asks while looking at those books is, “are you rapists?” This made me wonder, what was that that was going on in writer’s mind when this scene was written. I dare to speculate that a mind like that (if it wasn't intending a parody here) is one place where we should look for the causes as to why radical conspiracy theorists such as QAnon acquire considerable attention and following – the shocking lack of knowledge, insight and even interest in what the philosophies and belief systems outside mainstream Abrahamic religions believe in and hold true. One thing none of us gets when sane and unbiased insights are sacrificed in favour of bias and doctrines drawing their strength from the ability to shock the mind of an average everyday individual, is a better world.
(Even if a better world for anyone is the last thing we want because we feel really bitter, at least we should be consistent and true to ourselves, and others while claiming to be Christians, for example, and admit that we don’t love all people and don’t want a better world. No?)
Back to Jennifer’s Body. Jennifer’s fate of being an offering, and at the same time, a manifestation of a ritual gone wrong, lasts for quite a while. Another spoiler alert: we won’t see any karmic consequences the guys from band would have to deal with, but, if we believe every victim’s fate in the film is essentially on them, then there’s a hell to pay. This could have made a decent subject matter for a sequel, in my humble opinion. Let’s say, 6-8 years on, and they have reached the stardom they were after, but then... The time comes they have to become means of payment for someone’s ambitions as well as insecurities and sense of weakness; just like Jennifer was one to pay for theirs.
It is however difficult to think of how to make such a sequel to live up to the original as it was a guaranteed financial success at the time as well as a classic of noughties: I mean, who wouldn’t buy the dvd of Megan Fox doing girl-on-girl and devouring emo? Can you even recreate something like that in a manner that would feel contemporary and genuine, especially with all the emo and goth outfits? Unlikely. One thing that always works though, is the idea of payback. It has to be well executed, of course, but the premise never gets old. I can tell you this much: I would pay for the cinema ticket to see an aspiring soon-to-be rock star dabbling in occultism and ending up with a tenacious demon who’s got a face of Megan Fox, and a guitar pick of stardom destiny for our little Faust. I’m also thinking about American Satan as I write this, but can’t settle on any one idea about how to best incorporate that into the story; all I know, it would be something of a novelty to get a sequel, even if in a form of tv series, to two films simultaneously. Ok, in the case of AS it would likely have to be a spinoff of the original film, but, I think, if you wanted something that involves high school audience with a potential to become a contemporary classic and includes rock bands, and demons, then this might be the direction to take.
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