Jessica's November Pick
If you have been following our social media pages you will have noticed that for the month of November, Kelly and I will be looking into the controversial sub-genre of horror, rape/revenge. For myself, it has been a subgenre of horror that I have avoided for many years due to the stigma around it but also I find the subject matter to be quite triggering. Unfortunately, I am of the majority of women who have been sexually assault in her lifetime. I know all too well the trauma and the impact that this has upon a woman’s psyche and how she interacts with life after it.
As I have gotten older and worked through my trauma, as well as engaged more with the feminists within the horror community, I have begun to see where the sub-genre of rape/revenge has found its place in addressing this very ugly side of society. I consider Jennifer’s Body a rape/revenge tale and it is one that I own and can thoroughly appreciate.
Now you might be asking “Why do you consider this film a rape/revenge film?” Yes, I can see where the revenge aspect comes in but the rape? Is it implied when the band, Low Shoulder, took her to be sacrificed? But wait, she was supposed to be a virgin which is why when they killed her the spell backfired and she became a succubus. Well, for me, I see the rape as in the fact that these four men ‘raped’ Jennifer of her agency and free will. In drugging her, holding her against her will and then killing her for their own gain of wealth and fame. Against her fear and protests, they took away her life and while she was transformed into a “boy-killing” demoness from hell, she was essentially dead inside. This can be seen in the scene where she stares blankly off ahead, while she burns her tongue with a lighter. With little to no regard for her, they took away her life and they walked away with complete disregard for it. They got what they wanted from Jennifer’s body - it may not have been sex - but it was just as bad.
Like all rape/revenge tales, Jennifer strives to get her revenge. However, it is masked under the appearance that as a succubus she has an insatiable hunger that can only be satiated by killing other young men. But really, we can see that she is taking back the power that had been ripped away from her by seeking vengeance on the gender that wronged her. Typically, our victim in these types of films seek after the perpetrators of the violent act; however Jennifer focuses primarily on the gender as a whole to seek her vengeance. Fortunately, these acts of violence and drastic change in personality alert her best friend Needy to the transformation in her and she does what she can to save her best friend. In the end, after Jennifer’s death by Needy’s hands to stop her destructive path and free her, it is Needy (now turned demon) who takes revenge on Low Shoulder for taking away both her best friend’s and her own life.
Despite this grim interpretation of the film, Jennifer’s Body is a very interesting and underrated film for its depiction of female sexuality, friendships among woman (both empowering and toxic) and the lack of empathy and regard for human life when people seek fortune and fame. As well, the visuals of the film are enjoyable along with the catchy dialogue and conversation between the characters.