When Jennifer’s Body was released back in 2009, this Megan Fox and Amanda Seyfried feature was absolutely trashed by critics. One of the core issues with Jennifer’s Body was how the film was marketed. Advertisements made Jennifer’s Body appear as a sexy horror movie akin to Species; however, that was never the intentions of director Karyn Kusama and writer Diablo Cody. Executives clearly wanted to draw in teenage boys due to the sex appeal of Megan Fox, but Kusama revealed nearly ten years later to Buzzfeed that the film was actually for women and the toxic aspect of female friendships: “I wrote it for girls,” Cody said. “If a guy wrote a movie with the line ‘hell is a teenage girl,’ I would reject that. But I’m allowed to say because I was one. I think the fact that we were a female creative team gave us permission to make observations about some of the more toxic aspects of female friendship.”
In reality, Jennifer’s Body is actually a dark comedy with elements of horror in it. The intention behind the 2009 feature was never to scare audiences, though the film did play off of stereotypical horror movie tropes. One of the key tropes of horror movies is that the “final girl” is usually a virgin. While movies like Scream or Cabin in the Woods shattered that notion by going against the grain, Jennifer’s Body wisely chooses a different path due to Megan Fox’s character being far from a virgin. However, when Needy over hears Nikolai and his band about Jennifer possibly being a virgin, both Needy and Jennifer try to push the narrative that the popular high school chick is indeed a virgin; however, if Jennifer simply admitted that she was a sex crazed teenager then she would’ve avoided the ritual sacrifice from Nikolai and his crew. The purpose of that moment was to showcase that women didn’t need to hide their sexuality despite the judgment of society when it comes to promiscuity. The film is peppered with meaningful messages that transcends it as something more than your run of the mill horror film.
Of course, it helps that Jennifer’s Body is led by the great performances from Megan Fox and Amanda Seyfried. It’s not particularly surprising that Seyfried excels in her role as the nerdy Needy. Despite falling under the trope of Hollywood dressing up beautiful women to make them appear less attractive (Note to Hollywood: This doesn’t work!), Seyfried easily pulls off the performance of her complex character. She isn’t just the best friend of the most popular girl in high school; Needy is a young girl still trying to figure out the world around her. The infamous scene where her and Jennifer have a hot make-out session is more than just a moment to satisfy the sexual fantasies of teenage boys. It’s there to speak volumes about how young adults are still discovering their identity, along with how female friendships differ from its male counterparts. 2009 was at a time when Megan Fox’s main purpose is being a sex symbol; however, unlike Transformers, which essentially glorifies Fox’s sex appeal without giving her much of a character, Jennifer’s Body plays off her public image but Fox gives more of a layered performance based on her stereotype. Most of that dynamic comes from her relationship with Needy and the way she treats her not-so-popular best friend; however, another component is the way she seduces men before killing them off.
One of the clever ideas of Jennifer’s Body is that it doesn’t take much for Jennifer to seduce men before going gonzo crazy. It feeds off the stereotype of men being horny devils whenever a hot girl is present. Let’s be honest here, it’s Megan Fox, so I doubt many guys would turn down the actress if she tried to seduce them. However, Fox doesn’t just stand out because she’s just playing off her sex appeal; There are moments when we see Jennifer scared, vulnerable, and manipulative, and Fox manages to seamlessly pull off these different emotions with ease. Jennifer’s Body is more of a thought-provoking film then it was perceived to be during its release. It’s messages about female friendships and the toxic nature of them is timely and more importantly, entertaining. This isn’t a horror movie because it isn’t trying to scare you. It’s taken a clever approach to classic horror movie tropes and turns them on its head. Jennifer’s Body isn’t the greatest movie you’ll ever see; however, its damn well better than the 45% score it has on rotten tomatoes.
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