SCREENWRITER Diablo Cody follows the deserved Oscar triumph of Juno with a horror comedy about a high-school hottie who develops a bloodthirsty taste for teenage boys.

Under the direction of Karyn Kusama (Girlfight, Aeon Flux), the two genres don’t quite gel and the smattering of smart one-liners fails to elicit the same uproarious laughter as Cody’s celebrated debut.

Undoubtedly there are flashes of brilliance here, like when the flesh-eating anti-heroine looks down at blood pouring profusely from a stab wound in her stomach and enquires: “Got a tampon?”

However, the tart turns of phrase are always at odds with the blood and gore as the eponymous angel of death sinks her lacquered nails into any schoolboy foolish enough to follow her into the bushes.

The film opens in a psychiatric facility where Needy Lesnicky (Amanda Seyfried) informs us coolly: “I used to be normal... well, as normal as any girl under the influence of teenage hormones.”

Through her jaded eyes, we rewind several weeks to the familiar environment of high school, where Needy is one of the geeks with a devoted boyfriend, Chip (Johnny Simmons).

She also has a best friend, Jennifer Check (Megan Fox), who just happens to be the hottest and most desirable girl at school.

Playground etiquette dictates that Needy and Jennifer shouldn’t cohabit the same social circle, but they’ve been pals since childhood so gladly flout convention, despite obvious friction in the relationship.

The two girls head for a bar in their hometown of Devil’s Kettle to enjoy a gig by rock singer Nikolai Wolf (Adam Brody) and his band.

The concert ends in a bloodbath as the bar bursts into flames, trapping many of the locals in the inferno.

The teenagers escape, and Jennifer seeks refuge in the van of Nikolai and his band-mates.

Several hours later, the beautiful teenager turns up at Needy’s house covered in entrails, transformed into a flesh-hungry menace to male society.

As her appetite grows, Jennifer sinks her teeth into buff classmates, her good looks replenished with each new feed.

However, when the vamp sets her hungry eyes upon Chip, Needy steps in to protect her beau and a battle ensues.

Jennifer’s Body is a distinctly off-kilter teen horror that doesn’t quite find its rhythm.

After recurring roles as the scantily-clad eye candy in Transformers and its sequel, Fox graduates to leading lady with confidence but she needs to fine-tune her comic timing to match Seyfried’s increasingly wild-eyed performance.

A gratuitous lesbian kiss, filmed in close-up for what seems like an eternity, is a cheap shot to perk up the middle third before the obligatory, all guns blazing final showdown.

We know where the journey ends, with Needy in a padded cell, but we are entertained in fits and bursts as we follow her there.