Sometimes when you watch a film for the first time, you just don’t get it. You watch it, sit with it for a while and just wonder why you just waste your time watching something like that. Maybe it was a good movie but you just didn’t get it. Maybe it was a horrible movie but for some reason everyone around you loved it. After all, movies are subjective, art is subjective. For me, that was Jennifer’s Body the first time I watched it. I just didn’t get why everyone around me loved the film. See, I didn’t watch Jennifer’s Body in theatres back in 2009 when it was first released, if you know me, you know I don’t do horror movies. I just don’t and when I do, it takes A LOT of convincing, a good glass of wine and the sun shining bright in my apartment. So it took me years, hearing people talk about, seeing clips online, reading feminist pieces on it, I wanted to give it a try but I also knew I was the furthest thing from the intended target demographic.
But one day, after I had moved away from college and decided to broaden my horizon when it came to films, I sat down in my dorm and put on the Blu-Ray I had rented at the school’s library and watched it. By the time it was over… I hated everything about it. I just didn’t get it. Didn’t get why so many had fallen in love with it, why it was considered a cult classic. I just didn’t get it. So I decided to simply return it and never think of it again. But then years passed and after seeing its resurgence online over the last few years, I decided to give it another try. That was two years ago. I sat down once again in the middle of the day on my couch, opened my television and rented the film on Youtube. By the time it was over this time around… I fucking loved it. I got it, I understood what it was about, I got the hype that so many women had praised it for. By the end of it, I was convinced that Jennifer’s Body is a masterpiece.
Now, let me explain why.
Jennifer’s Body is probably the best example of a marketing team having no idea what to do with a product. Marketed toward boys and playing on sexuality and Megan Fox, who at the time was at the height of her popularity, even if the film was anything but what it was marketed as. See Jennifer’s Body was sold on the basis of sex with Megan’s image at the forefront of it all. But in reality, the film is the total opposite. It’s a woman (Jennifer) regaining control of her own body after being sacrificed by a group of men who did so in order to advance their own career. Looking at it, it is one of those feminist movies that executives just didn’t get at the time. They thought that women wouldn’t go and see it because it was a horror film but the truth is the other way around. Why wouldn’t we want to go see a film that is about a woman using her body in order to get revenge on her abusers? The film was marketed as a sex fantasy but it’s the exact opposite, it’s a revenge fantasy.
The thing about Jennifer’s Body is that it isn’t perfect. No, far from it, but it’s also awesome. It’s this type of film that we never see, a film about a woman taking back her own body and getting the justice she never will get, How many of us can relate to that, how often are women ignored and devalued. Diablo Cody crafted a horror film that we so often never get. A teenage horror flick that is all about empowerment and getting the justice we think we deserve. The social commentary on how women are treated, the purity of virginity, how Jennifer not being one meant she would be possessed for the rest of her life, how even when Needy tells the truth about what happened to Jennifer she is treated as insane and put into an asylum. It’s a commentary about how society treats women and it’s a shame that the film wasn’t marketed properly. After all, it’s own marketing is a reflection on the commentary the film does itself.
It’s hard to say if Jennifer’s Body would have done well if it was marketed properly. After all, the discussion surrounding it really changed in the wake of the Me Too Movement. Yes, we can blame the marketing and how it failed the project but we can’t forget the critic who fell into the trap of seeing it as nothing more than a sex fantasy. And that is a reflection on the critic that did review the film at the time of the release. What if women had been the first one to get to see it would have it been different? Maybe. But at least, now we get to experience Jennifer’s Body like it’s meant to be. From a feminist point of view, from the point of view, Diablo Cody intended when she wrote it.
Jennifer’s Body is now considered a cult classic, a horror classic, but more importantly a classic feminist piece of art. It’s a film that if you haven’t watched it in a long time, you should run and go see it again. It’s a film that deserves praise and deserves to be remembered as what it truly is, a freaking masterpiece.