Not very many movies are able to find success after a decade, but the phenomenally crafted Jennifer's Body has found its audience 10 years after its initial release. The film was written by Diablo Cody and starring Megan Fox was a film that was completely misunderstood by audiences and critics who were blind to the intelligence, wit and enthralling delivery. After a drastically necessary shift in conversation, it's finally being appreciated for everything it has to offer and we couldn't be happier.
It's hard to fathom that 10 years ago, the second film by Juno scribe was labeled a "box office disappointment" and the straight male-driven audience targeted was less than impressed. Of course, that wasn't the only sentiment, but the reviews and comments that were taken more seriously in the media and by word of mouth came from the young male audience that had different expectations. The film remains one of the most meta horror films we've seen, but we have a few reasons that Jennifer's Body is and always has been something worth celebrating.
It's so masterfully executed it took 10 years for its critics to understand
Jennifer's Body has a great concept behind it, setting it in the realm of a horror film while keeping a youthful approach. Sometimes the general horrors of being young and amped up by danger can create the most authentic atmosphere with sharply written dark humor. The writing is so clever and aware of real life horror, it perfectly resembles a numbness to our world today. Needy (Amanda Seyfried) is the character who appears to be observing her surroundings, as others just can't shift focusing on anything that isn't self-indulgent.
Another fascinating component of Jennifer's Body stems from the depiction of complex childhood friendships. Both Needy and Jennifer are made out to appear as polar opposite people who happen to be supposedly best friends. That said, they still struggle with issues that anyone would deal with like jealousy or expectations which causes a constant push and pull in terms of their feelings for one another. It takes these traditional tropes of the popular girl and the bookworm and gives both a more realistic role. For example, Needy has the more stable life it may seem, but her struggle of confidence and being Jennifer's shadow causes her to give in to situations she wants no part of.
Jennifer, on the other hand, knows that she is this highly coveted beauty who struggles with self-worth. She knows what people want from her, and she almost accepts this persona that's purely viewed on a surface level. Although there's turmoil, there's still evidence that even when trying to kill one another they still hold each other to high standards. The friendship (which sometimes teeters) is the driving force behind Jennifer's Body and both Fox and Seyfried perfectly capture the essence of complexity.
Revenge is sweet
One of the more 'horror' attributes of Jennifer's Body is the undeniable thrill of revenge. After the trauma of a bar fire, Jennifer (reeling from the event) ends up taken by the band and is later sacrificed in the woods in a ritual. The scene is brutal, hard to stomach, and completely attached to the reality of assaults. It's another moment that brings attention to deplorable acts and the disheartening idea of a man finding entertainment in a woman's suffering. Post-death, Jennifer knows she won't be taken seriously and after dying and rising as something more, she seems justifiably numb to everything around her.
After the #MeToo movement opening a door for discussion, everything about this scene feels too true to society and there's nothing more terrifying. The sacrifice of Jennifer and to carelessly disregard for her pleas creates a concept that has been spoken about very publicly by real survivors and the imagery regarding sexual assault is especially dark. This, in particular, sparks a shift in Jennifer's Body which turns the tables as Jennifer essentially seeks revenge against the gender as a whole.
As Jennifer begins to murder boys at her school, there is a clear change from the possession of sorts (often masking trauma) and she begins to feel indifferent towards life. It begins to find dark comedy in these self-aware moments as we see Jennifer looking at men for the monsters they can be and finding her own strength as the comfort she needs. While it does find dark humor, the revenge-fantasy branches out into horror, friendship, abuse and an unexpected portrayal of a movement that needed to occur.
Megan Fox brings the film to life
Megan Fox is undoubtedly the face of Jennifer's Body. At the time of its release, it was marketed with her in a short cheerleading skirt and overtly sexualized her in any way they could. Fox, who had become known for her role in the Transformers films at that time was viewed as an object for the franchise to draw in an oogly-eyed male demographic. The studio once again assumed that they could use that form of Fox's appearance as a draw, which is actually what misrepresented the film and its brilliance.
The script itself has an almost perfect disposition that Fox said felt true to where she was at in her career. Jennifer's Body sheds light on the thoughts behind someone in her unique situation and shows the damages and disappointments that come with being viewed simply as a pretty face. Fox brought several distinct facets to Jennifer and reminded audiences that she has much more to her than the way that she was portrayed by the industry.
Her comedic timing and delivery remains incomparable, becoming a cult-classic that may be on the brink of mainstream success after a decade. With Fox's commitment to bringing the enigma of Jennifer to life and showcasing her range of talents, the actor and Cody were the heart behind a project that continues to persevere after unwarranted backlash. It may have taken too long to be understood, but there must be some sense of peace for all involved after standing by a project that they knew had everything necessary to be considered an iconic film.