“Jennifer’s Body” is more than just a slasher teenage horror movie. It tells us a realistic story in a fictional manner.
Jennifer’s Body is a 2009 American horror movie starring Megan Fox and Amanda Seyfried. The movie is written by Diablo Cody and directed by Karyn Kusama. Despite the negative responses it received during its release, the movie is now seen in a new light. It uses the elements of horror blended with comedy to depict teenage female friendship in all its rawness.
Jennifer’s Body:A Short Summary
Jennifer’s Body starts by showing the protagonist Anita “Needy” Lesnicki in a correctional center. Needy says that she is a “kicker” known for her violent behavior. . Needy ends up cursing out and attacking a doctor and is put in a little room. Through a speaker within her tiny jail-like room, a song starts playing. Needy winces in pain saying that she hates this song. The song takes her on a trip down memory lane.
We see a flashback to a time in the past and are introduced to Jennifer, the titular character lying on her bed watching TV. She looks sallow and worn out. Needy is standing outside Jennifer’s window staring menacingly. Needy then takes us further back to when she was a “normal teenager”. Jennifer was at that time a popular cheerleader, while Needy was the textbook nerd. Despite their differences, they were best friends.
Jennifer asks Needy to go to their local club “Devil’s Kettle“. This was named after the famous mysterious waterfall of their town. An indie band Low Shoulder was to perform there: the lead singer of which Jeniffer intends to pursue. Needy has already promised to meet her boyfriend Chip but decides to go with Jeniffer anyways.
Where Everything Goes Wrong
During that fateful night of the concert, the club burns down. Many of the people at the club die. Jennifer is pulled to safety by Needy. However, as they sit outside the burning bar, the lead singer of the band whisks Jennifer away. When Jennifer returns later to Needy’s house, she is changed forever. Jennifer looks injured and almost demonic. Needy knows that Jennifer is not the same as before. Then, high school boys start to get killed by a mysterious cannibal (Jennifer actually). In no time, Needy puts two and two together in no time. Needy and Jennifer’s friendship starts to fall apart.
All the Stereotypes With a Twist in “Jennifer’s Body”
Jennifer’s Body uses all the over-used tropes of a typical Hollywood high school horror movie. However, these are then transformed to give the characters more depth and complexity. Jennifer is a typical Cheerleader archetype. She appears to be sexualized in a manner that is not age-appropriate. Needy is the kind of character that is usually bullied in such settings. Yet, this movie defies that and makes them best friends.
Jennifer is also the kind of sexualized character most likely to die during a horror movie. However, rather than dying, she survives. In other horror movies, the girl with sexual agency dies. In this one, she comes back stronger than ever. This is possible because she is not a virgin. Needy, on the other hand, starts out as the meek underdog. Over the course of the movie, she transforms into a brave character ready to take the ominous challenges head-on.
Jennifer and Needy
Needy and Jennifer’s relationship is the focal point of Jennifer’s Body. They have been best friends since childhood. Their relationship is very intense. Despite being toxic to each other, they do have a solid connection. Their obsession with each other borders on romantic. Other characters don’t matter as much to the two as much.
Right from the beginning, their love for each other is evident. It is there in the way they look at each other or hold hands. Their relationship is toxic, however. Needy can dress up pretty, but not too pretty, lest she upstages Jeniffer. Or that, Jeniffer, has total disregard for Needy’s feelings. So, when Jennifer starts eating high school boys, Needy stops cooperating. Jennifer tries all means possible to get Needy’s attention. She starts by telling her the truth; That she was sacrificed by Low Shoulder mercilessly as a demonic ritual so that they could gain popularity. They also make out, where Jennifer manipulates Needy’s feelings for her. Eventually, she kills Needy’s boyfriend, which happens to be the last straw.
Needy did truly connect to Jennifer, so much so that she could sense when Jennifer was killing someone. She even sees visions of Jennifer in demonic stances along with her victims. She is the only one that realizes that something is wrong with Jennifer. Perhaps she was the only one who truly loves Jennifer. However, she decides to stand up against Jennifer after her boyfriend’s death. She does love Chip too. Chip also shows his insecurity regarding Needy and Jennifer’s friendship.
However, in Jennifer’s Body, Needy’s world doesn’t fall apart when Chip dies. Her world only falls apart when Jennifer becomes a monster, and later when Jeniffer dies. Jeniffer only realizes she loves Needy too, only towards the end.
Heavy Tones Under a Teeny-Pop Demeanor in “Jennifer’s Body”
Jennifer’s Body is a movie that looks bright and colorful; It is full of humor and entertainment. Despite the light-hearted tone it takes, the messages it deals with are quite dark. For one, the metaphor of Jennifer’s body being sacrificed by men for the sake of their career is something very common in Entertainment Industries. Jennifer survives, not because she is a virgin, but because she is not. When she comes back, she says she felt “very hungry”. It does literally mean that she was hungry for the flesh of men, but also for revenge.
This story attempts to humanize the stereotypes. Jennifer is at a glance a hyper-sexualized cheerleader. However, in bits and pieces, one realizes that Jennifer is just a teenager. She is a young girl with all the immaturity and flaws that any other young girl might have. So is everyone else in the story.
Jennifer bites needy. This transfers some of her powers to Needy, without the thirst for blood. After Needy kills Jennifer, Needy is transferred to a correctional home. We are now back to the beginning. Needy also by the end, has inherited the “hunger”.She uses that to break out of the correctional center. She is in the end, superhuman. Perhaps this too is her last connection with Jennifer. At last, she takes her revenge on Low Shoulder, killing them at their peak.
Jennifer’s Body is at the end of the day a tragedy. Needy and Jennifer’s relationship is not able to have a happy ending, mostly due to the expectations of society. Moreover, Jennifer’s physically died by the waterfall that night. No matter how much she tries later, she cannot go back to being the same Jennifer she was. There is a scene where she is rubbing makeup onto her bleak face with teary eyes. We can see this realization dawn upon her. She can only survive if she cannibalizes men. Even after completely dying again, her soul lives on through Needy. Needy finally takes their revenge.