Jennifer’s Body portrays high school femininity in the most twisted way possible, but behind all the horror and gore, it also reminds us of this cruelly relatable ideal: Hell is a teenage girl.
This film follows best friends Jennifer Check (Megan Fox) and Anita “Needy” Lesnicki (Amanda Seyfried), two girls devoted to each other ever since preschool, despite their current divide on the high school popularity scale. But all goes wrong when Jennifer is kidnapped and sacrificed in an indie rock band’s scheme to gain fame. Jennifer isn’t a virgin, so she’s not killed, but becomes possessed by a succubus who must feed on flesh in order to survive. In vengeance against toxic masculinity and the gender that, ultimately, betrayed her by transforming her into said demon, Jennifer snarkily reminds Needy that she’s not killing just anyone, she’s killing boys.
The film can be classified as a teen horror, but within its dark plot points, there is an unmistakable comedic flare, illustrated by a plethora of pop culture references and unparalleled dialogue. If you dive even deeper into Jennifer’s Body, within that comedic flare, there is sincerity. Ultimately, the film is about the turbulent intimacy of female friendship. Jennifer and Needy’s co-dependence is questioned as a potential lesbian love affair, and their environment of high school hormones and burgeoning sexuality doesn’t provide any clarity. The relationship between girls is complicated but often foregrounded with immense and unexplainable love.
Directed by Karyn Kusama and written by Diablo Cody, this 2009 classic was intended to depict a clear female perspective, with its subversive nature and influence from notable queer and feminist genres, like slashers of the ’70s. But instead, 20th Century Fox chose to capitalize on Megan Fox’s bombshell status and director Kusama noted how painful it was to watch the movie be marketed solely to straight teenage boys. This mis-marketing is then very ironic; simplifying the character of Megan Fox to her “hotness” is underestimating her complexity, which is exactly what the film advises against. Much like how females are more than one trait, this film is more than a teen slasher flick with a lesbian lure, despite what the trailer suggests.
Emily Millard Murphy is a pop culture and media writer from California. She earned a BA from the University of California, Santa Cruz, for her major in Film and Digital Media, with a concentration in critical practice. With a passion for discussing everything film and television, check out her blog and Twitter!