A little girl-power does Jennifer’s Body good

By: Emily Gagne

Rating: 4 / 5


Since Buffy the Vampire Slayer went off the air in 2003, horror fans have been hard-pressed to find movies and TV that allow girls to take the blood-soaked stage. As movies like HalloweenScream and I Know What You Did Last Summer have hammered home sequel after sequel, perfectly busty virgins are the only girls who can seem to survive cinema’s greatest suburban bloodbaths. (And when I say survive, I mean run away, because girls can’t possibly fight a psychopath on their own.) However, thanks to Oscar winner Diablo Cody (Juno) and new flick, Jennifer’s Body, it seems women in horror movies may be able to bypass death without relying on misogynistic clichés after all.

Jennifer’s Body
follows the lives of two girls who couldn’t be further away from each other on the high school food chain: Needy, a bespectacled indie girl (Mean Girls’ Amanda Seyfried), and Jennifer, Devil’s Kettle High’s head cheerleader and resident boy magnet (Transformers’ Megan Fox). Despite their social differences, Needy and Jennifer are likely totally BFF(for serious, it even says so on their necklaces!). They sit together in every class. They party together. They even share an occasional smooch. But their closer-than-close friendship hits a speed bump when Jennifer spends the night with demonically cute indie rockers, Low Shoulder and returns to school more boy-hungry than ever before. Literally. She starts seducing unsuspecting football players and alterna-dudes and devouring their insides.

Although the movie can get a little too scary and over-the-top for some, it contains some really strong female characters. For instance, contrary to what her cutesy moniker might imply, the movie’s heroine, Needy, isn’t some sort of perfectly coiffed goody-goody. She has sex, parties and wears comfortably baggy clothes. But somehow she still becomes ace demon fighter. Jennifer on the other hand, looks like the textbook example of a cinematic killer’s first victim: young, naive and sexy. But instead Cody turns her into a villain with so much bite even Jason wouldn’t dare go near her hot pink manicure.

In addition, between the death scenes and catchy pop-rock soundtrack, there is a serious commentary on female friendship. Jennifer and Needy’s connection is so strong, it’s almost supernatural. For example, Needy can sense when Jennifer is at the door before she even rings the doorbell. Later, she even becomes able to physically feel what her girlfriend is doing each time she goes cannibal. I may not be able to read my girlfriends’ minds but I know how addictive and consuming female friendships can be, especially when you’re a teen.

The girl power hidden beneath Jennifer’s Body’s teenage horror exterior surely came from the minds of the movie’s female-dominated crew (the film’s director, writer and major stars are all female). I doubt Cody’s script would have remained as groundbreaking if it had gotten into the hands of torture porn directors like Eli Roth or Rob Zombie, both of which would have recast the movie so that it starred Megan Fox’s boobs. However, under female guidance, Needy’s boyfriend (played by the adorkable Johnny Simmons) shows more skin than Megan and Amanda combined.

Even with its positive messages, Jennifer’s Body is not everyone’s taste. If you have adverse reactions to excessive pop culture references and fake blood, you might have trouble digesting Needy and Jennifer’s story. But if you’re like me and don’t feel like seeing Saw 27 this year, grab your BFFs, head to the multiplex and get your girl power on this Halloween.


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