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TheatricalThe Woman in Black (2012)
10/02/2012 | Nikki Baughan

Having relaunched in 2010 with the promise of delivering solid horror films for a modern audience, the output from the rebooted Hammer Films has been something of a mixed bag. While its inaugural release, remake Let Me In, was received with great fanfare, subsequent films The R [ ... ]


TheatricalMan on a Ledge (2012)
03/02/2012 | Nikki Baughan

For his feature debut, Danish filmmaker Asger Leth follows his 2006 documentary Ghosts of Cite Soleil (co-directed with Milos Loncarevic) with something entirely different; a high concept action thriller that is about as Hollywood as they come. That’s to say that everything is [ ... ]


More Theatrical Reviews

Jennifer's Body (2009)

Theatrical

Popular high school cheerleader Jennifer (Megan Fox) and geeky kid Anita, aka Needy (Anna Seyfried), are unlikely friends who have been inseparable since childhood. But when Jennifer heads off with a visiting band one night and comes back radically changed, Needy starts to realise that her friend’s newly acquired cannibalistic tendencies might just put a damper on their friendship.

I loved Oscar-winning writer Diablo Cody’s first movie, Juno. I even enjoyed the TV show she created, United States of Tara. But with Jennifer’s Body, something has gone very awry. The best adjective to describe it is leaden, with none of the swift pacing you’d expect from a horror movie to ramp up the tension. Instead there’s a scene where Jennifer kills someone, then a comic scene at school, then another murder and so on; it's painfully rigid in its plotting and not feeling like a smooth, flowing piece, rather like two entirely different films spliced together. Even Cody’s trademark teen-speak dialogue lets her down here. Perhaps it’s because Ellen Page delivered it so perfectly as Juno that another character speaking similarly just feels wrong, or perhaps it’s simply that Megan Fox isn’t as good an actress. Either way, it feels forced and unnecessary.

Fox herself looks as stunning as ever, even letting her image be tarnished for scenes where she looks deathly pale and ill between feeds. Yet while her vapid and one-dimensional performance fits the character’s soulless persona, it makes it impossible to get to know the girl within. Amanda Seyfried carries the meat of the emotion as Needy, slowly coming to realise that not only does Jennifer have to be taken out, but also that she may not be the BFF she believed, but she’s not given enough to bounce off of in Fox’s performance and too often it feels as though she’s acting into a void.

That’s not to say it’s all bad. There are some strong comedy moments and some gruesome deaths, though most of the shocks are so clichéd (the bird on the stairs, the shadow of someone in a house) that it feels as though the film is just going through the motions. JK Simmons is great as a quirky teacher but hugely underused, and the whole film lacks the high calibre supporting cast that made Juno such a joy.

While those who wish to appreciate the physicality of Megan Fox will be well served, Jennifer’s Body offers little more than empty titillation and as such is a big disappointment in the horror movie stakes.

2 stars

Paul Spragg

Watch Jennifer's Body Trailer

ROLL CREDITS...
Stars Megan Fox, Amanda Seyfried
Director Karyn Kusama
Screenplay Diablo Cody
Certificate 15
Distributor Fox
Running Time 1hr 42mins
Opens November 4

Theatrical Reviews Archive

The Woman in Black (2012)
Orphan (2009)
Night at the Museum 2 (2009)
Man on a Ledge (2012)
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011)
Synecdoche, New York (2008)
Star Trek (2009)
Tormented (2009)
Drag Me To Hell (2009)
Black Swan (2010)
Coraline (2009)
Adam (2009)
Aliens in the Attic (2009)
Terminator Salvation (2009)
The Wrestler (2008)
X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009)
Summer Scars (2007)
GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra (2009)
Red Riding Hood (2011)
Coco Before Chanel (2009)
Moon (2009)
Blind Loves (2008)
Angels & Demons (2009)
Cherry Blossoms (2008)
Helen (2008)
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009)
Delta (2008)
Dorian Gray (2009)
Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs (2009)
The Taking of Pelham 123 (2009)
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009)
Jennifer's Body (2009)
Bottle Shock (2008)
Brüno (2009)
Hereafter (2010)
Watchmen (2009)
Just Another Love Story (2007)
The Disappeared (2008)
District 9 (2009)
Paranormal Activity (2009)
Afghan Star (2008)
Fireflies in the Garden (2009)
Inglourious Basterds (2009)
Anything For Her (2008)
Paul Blart: Mall Cop (2009)
Sex and the City 2 (2010)
Gran Torino (2008)
The Last House on the Left (2009)
Sunshine Cleaning (2009)
Heartless (2009)
New Town Killers (2008)
Frozen River (2008)
Zombieland (2009)
500 Days of Summer
Frozen (2010)
The Expendables (2010)
Year One (2009)
Predators (2010)
The Scouting Book For Boys (2009)
Knight and Day (2010)
Public Enemies (2009)
This Is It (2009)
Awaydays (2009)
Hierro (2009)
Tetro (2009)
The Road (2009)
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (2009): Review & Clips
Iron Man 2 (2010)
Source Code (2011)
Robin Hood (2010)
Machete (2010)
Fuck (2005)
The Bad Lieutenant - Port of Call: New Orleans (2009)
The Unborn (2009)
Not Quite Hollywood (2008)
The Yes Men Fix the World (2009)
2012 (2009)
Shutter Island (2010)
Cemetery Junction (2010)
Lebanon (2009)
Submarine (2011)
Drive Angry 3D (2011)

Highlights

Airborne

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British actress Kimberly Jaraj shares her diary from the set of upcoming airplane thriller Airborne...

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Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

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Director Rob Marshall, producer Jerry Bruckheimer and stars Johnny Depp, Penelope Cruz, Ian McShane and Geoffrey Rush talk Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides...

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Shadow

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As his visceral horror Shadow comes to DVD, we sit down for an exclusive chat with Italian director Federico Zampaglione

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Movie Highlight

The Woman in Black

Having relaunched in 2010 with the promise of delivering solid horror films for a modern audience, the output from the rebooted Hammer Films has been something of a mixed bag. While its inaugural release, remake Let Me In, was received with great fanfare, subsequent films The Resident and Wake Wood have been less successful. So with its first big release, The Woman in Black, Hammer has much to prove – and has piled on the pressure by choosing to adapt a story that’s not only a bestselling novel but also a long running West End play.

An additional challenge is that tale is so effective because of its simplicity; there are no big set pieces for a filmmaker to hide behind. So it’s reassuring to see that, while some elements of Susan Hill’s story have been tweaked to give it more of a cinematic scope, the narrative runs fairly true. At its heart is young lawyer Arthur Kipps (Daniel Radcliffe) who, still reeling from the death of his wife in childbirth four years previously, is sent to a remote village in order to organise the paperwork at the isolated Eel Marsh House. On his arrival he finds the locals most unwelcoming, believing that anyone disturbing the peace at the house brings tragedy to the village. Although initially sceptical, Kipps soon discovers that the mansion holds horrifying secrets, and that one of its former occupants is determined to exact terrifying revenge…

READ FULL REVIEW:  The Woman in Black

DVD Highlight

The Walking Dead

The living dead have been a mainstay of horror cinema for decades. Now they maraud onto the small screen in Frank Darabont’s adaptation of the graphic novel by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore and Charlie Adlard.

Brit favourite Andrew Lincoln (This LifeTeachers) adopts a convincing drawl to take on the role of sheriff Rick Grimes, who wakes from a coma to find the local residents have become flesh-eating ghouls. While the initial set-up is reminiscent of 28 Days Later, these zombies are not Danny Boyle’s fast moving monsters, but the lumbering breed of tradition. That doesn’t dilute their impact; as Rick teams up with other survivors, the zombies are relentless in their pursuit and the tension builds to unbearable levels.

READ FULL REVIEW: The Walking Dead

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