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The Quinnipiac Chronicle

The Student News Site of Quinnipiac University

The Quinnipiac Chronicle

Why do we still care about ‘Jennifer’s Body’?

Connor Youngberg

On Sept. 18, 2009, “Jennifer’s Body” premiered in theaters. The film barely doubled its budget at the box office, received mixed reviews from critics and a measly 46% on Rotten Tomatoes.

And yet nearly 14 years later to the day, “Jennifer’s Body” is regarded as a cult classic. The movie has been logged around 739,000 times on the popular movie review social media app, Letterboxd. The #jennifersbody tag on TikTok has amassed over two billion views. And Halsey, an outspoken fan of the movie, sampled a deleted scene from the film in the intro to her 2020 song, “killing boys.”

So with all of this new-found love for the movie, it begs the question: why do we now love “Jennifer’s Body” so much?

Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that 2009 audiences lived in a very different world than 2023 ones. When the film first premiered, reviewers chalked the movie up to an over-sexualized, lame attempt at a horror film. The nuances and clever writing of writer Diablo Cody’s script were simply lost on theater-goers who were largely too preoccupied by star Megan Fox in a mini-skirt.

And yet, for current-day audiences, “Jennifer’s Body” conveys a completely different message.

The film follows popular high scool girl Jennifer Check (Fox), and her unlikely, unbreakable and rather homoerotic friendship with Needy Lesnicki (Amanda Seyfried). When a night out gone wrong sees Check turned into a succubus who quenches her appetite on their high school’s male population, it’s up to Lesnicki to put a stop to the gore.

“Jennifer’s Body” presents a much-needed contrast to the horror genre. Instead of sitting through young women being slaughtered throughout an entire film, their sexuality flaunted and exploited as they’re sent to their deaths, Check is the one taking the reins and doing the devouring. Instead of preying on the stereotypical naive woman, she leverages the shameless lust of the high school boys trying to get in her bed and rips them apart from limb-to-limb.

Perhaps the famed quote featured in “killing boys” says it best. Lesnicki lectures Check, saying, “You’re killing people!” Check merely rolls her eyes. “No,” she drawls. “I’m killing boys.”

Now, that’s not to say the brutal murder of high school boys should be encouraged. But it’s worth noting that “Jennifer’s Body” examines feminism and a woman’s place in society through much more than demonic killings.

Check goes from high schooler to demon thanks to a visit to a bar gig to see a barely-famous band with Lesnicki. The band, who are made up of men much older than teenage Check, single her out for what’s proposed as an exclusive after-party. In reality, they’re planning a virgin sacrifice, with hopes that it will lead them to the fame they’ve always dreamed up.

They take Check to the woods, tie her up and brutally stab her to death while singing and laughing tauntingly at her. While she’s really not a virgin — this is the reason she transforms into a succubus instead of dying — it doesn’t change the fact that she’s a young girl, preyed upon and slaughtered by greedy men desperate for more than life has given them.

Therefore, Check’s merciless killings of horny high school boys who make moon-eyes at her in the hallway becomes a little more understandable. It’s a tongue-in-cheek, horror twist that’s practically feminism if you look at it a certain way.

All in all, “Jennifer’s Body” has perhaps created a longevity amongst 21st-century audiences because it toys with a reversed patriarchal system, one where a woman holds the power. But maybe it’s also just because the movie is simply fun.

Fox and Seyfried have a twisted friendship with far more chemistry than can be interpreted as platonic. Their scenes are iconic, with quotes that fans of the movie can spout off on demand. The gore and the sexuality of the film go hand-in-hand to create a horror film that’s just as sexy as it is disturbing.

“Jennifer’s Body” simply isn’t going anywhere. So whether it’s the pretty girls, the funny one-liners or the bloody murders, there’s sure to be something for everyone.


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About the Contributors
Zoe Leone, Arts & Life Editor
Connor Youngberg, Associate Multimedia Editor

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