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Saturday, March 2
The Indiana Daily Student

arts

COLUMN: Revisiting 'Jennifer's Body' nearly 10 years later

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Released in 2009, "Jennifer’s Body" is a movie that could’ve been so many things. 

It was marketed as a hyper-sexualized friendship horror story between Jennifer Check, played by Megan Fox, and Anita "Needy" Lesnicky, played by Amanda Seyfried — but ultimately, it wasn’t that.

It had elements of a campy, creepy horror show, but it wasn’t that either. 

And it could’ve been a feminist film, about a woman asserting her sexuality and ultimately taking revenge on the men that only looked at her as a prize, but — most upsettingly — it still wasn’t that.

The movie follows Jennifer and Needy, who have been best friends since childhood. 

“Sandbox love never dies,” Needy says in a voiceover when explaining how she, the book smart shy girl-next-door, is friends with Jennifer, the hot girl who gets whomever and whatever she wants.

Needy and Jennifer spend almost the entire film in micro-fights, so their “friendship” is never really given much screen time. And especially after Jennifer is possessed and turns into a rampant, devil-like creature, she and Needy are at each others throats — literally.

Online conversation about the movie focused on a girl-on-girl kissing scene between the two main characters. The trailers heavily relied on glowing glamour shots of Fox walking down the school halls in a revealing crop top, smiling, waving and flipping her hair. 

This movie had all the ingredients to be an important, ahead of its time feminist film. It had a female director, Karyn Kusama, a female screenwriter, Diablo Cody, and starred two high profile female actresses. The premise of the plot had to do with Jennifer eating boys to stay alive — if she did, she would be glowing with radiant health, and if she didn’t, she’d be “ugly” and dull. 

A Satanist band planned to sacrifice Jennifer to the devil, thinking she was a virgin. Since she wasn't, the ritual turned her into a blood-thirsty creature with an appetite for high school boys. The story lends itself to the idea that Jennifer's sexual experience ultimately saved her life, but she became a killing machine in turn. And these boys she killed seemed to be innocent on most accounts. 

She lures a emotionally closeted jock to the woods, a shy, guy-liner wearing punk emo into an abandoned house and Needy's boyfriend Chip into a swampy pool house to rip their guts out. But these boys are guilty of nothing other than lusting over Jennifer and her body. 

An argument could be made that that's why they deserved their fate, but if they had done something bad or malicious toward Jennifer or any other girl in the school, their deaths would've been a much larger conversation starter. 

The movie could've become a strong metaphor of a girl being made to feel less by a boy, and the inner revenge she wishes she could get on him. But it wasn't.

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