* BaseBreakingCharacter: Matthew. Some people find him sympathetic, since he is mentally retarded and initially refused to violate Jennifer. Others think that his sympathetic qualities make his actions more disturbing. After all, he did nothing to assist her, didn't go for help, made no real attempt to stop his friends, and did give in to peer pressure. By the time he took his turn, it was unlikely Jennifer was feeling significantly less raped.
** In the remake, he's pretty much literally told they will kill her if he doesn't violate her. Also, as a retard in his hillbilly town, he pretty much has nothing and no one if he turned on his friends.
* BileFascination: David Churchill argues that [[http://www.criticsatlarge.ca/2011/03/when-criticism-backfires-i-spit-on-your.html the remake never would have happened if Ebert's infamous review of the first film hadn't ripped into it so bad]], making audiences curious about its vileness.
* CaptainObviousAesop: Hey, did you know rape is bad?
* CatharsisFactor: A non-videogame example, and the reason the original film exists. The director wanted to make a feminist movie that empowered rape victims through Jennifer's rampage.
* DesignatedHero / BlackAndBlackMorality
** Between the remake's much more sympathetic portrayal of Matthew and inadvertantly softening Jennifer's trauma by avoiding showing her at her worst, its hard to see Jennifer's actions as being an even mildly good person.
** It's averted in the second film. Katie's antagonists are [[spoiler: human traffickers who lure women in with free modelling photo shoots (which is TruthInTelevision) and her ordeal. Plus we do see Katie's escape and physical recovery.]] Somewhat played straight in that one of the antagonists [[spoiler: was a sex slave herself and the other is a PsychopathicManChild who was attracted to Katie.]] It doesn't excuse the hell they put her through. Also, unlike Jennifer, [[spoiler: Katie had two people in her corner that tried (and succeeded somewhat) to help her. This display of humanity probably makes her more of a shade of gray than Jennifer.]]
** It's little better in the third film. When we catch up with Jennifer, she is no longer an author, has changed her name and moved to a new city. She is plagued by nightmares, flashbacks and later on hallucinations. [[spoiler: After becoming friends with a fellow survivor who is later murdered, things get even worse.]] Some of her victims she goes after range from being an AssholeVictim to innocent. [[spoiler: It gets so bad that by the end of the film, she has gotten beaten up, sexually assaulted, lost another friend (who killed himself while taking the blame for the murders she committed), slipped into insanity, got shot while trying to kill yet another AssholeVictim, and served two years in prison with no signs that she even wants to get better. Basically, it was RealityEnsues after getting revenge in the remake.]]
* DoNotDoThisCoolThing: All those extended rape sequences, just to say that rape is bad? Creator/RogerEbert noted to his horror that some of the audience members at the screening he attended actually cheered on the rapists.
* FamilyUnfriendlyAesop: The movie glorifies a RoaringRampageOfRevenge for rape as "empowering." A lot of critics slammed it for this.
* FridgeLogic: In the original, Johnny gets his penis sliced off while in the tub with Jennifer, and didn't realize it until ''after'' he noticed he was bleeding.
* {{Narm}}: Johnny's screaming from the bathroom in the original: "It won't stop bleeding! IT WON'T STOP ''BLEEEEEDIIIIINNNGGG''!!!"
* HeartwarmingMoments: There are some moments in the films
** In the second film:
*** [[spoiler: Father Dimov meeting Katie while she's rumaging around for food in the church, nicknaming her "Little Mouse", providing her food, clothing and a Bible, and being nothing less than kind and compassionate to her. Moreover, he knows Kirill and implores him to help her.]]
*** [[spoiler: Detective Kirill saving Katie's life after learning the truth, apologizing to her for his screwup and letting her go.]]
** In the third film:
*** [[spoiler: All the moments between Marla and Jennifer. Marla standing up for Jennifer when she's being harassed by Chief. Marla having a drink with Jennifer. Just Marla being buddy-buddy with her and drawing her out of her shell.]][[spoiler: It makes Marla's murder even more tragic.]]
*** [[spoiler: Despite what happens later, Detective [=McDylan=] is quickly established as a kind and caring SVU Detective that genuinely wants to help people. Unlike Bolton's antagonistic approach (meant to get people upset and blurt things out), he is able to get Jennifer Hills of all people (who was utterly let down by law enforcment in the first film) to sit down and have coffee with him.]][[spoiler: Even after she becomes a suspect, he's still being kind and patient with her. His harshest moment with her is sternly warning not to skip bail.]][[spoiler: Even though she ends up in prison for two years and he ends up having to shoot her, he saves her from life in prison or death row.]]
* NightmareFuel:
** The rape scene in the original, and the rapists' death scenes in the remake. Especially [[spoiler:Storch and Matthew's]].
** Katie's entire ordeal in the first half of the second film. All of it.
** [[spoiler: Everything Katie does to her rapists in the last half of the film. All of it.]]
** The [[spoiler:step father's]] death in the third film. [[spoiler: Raped anally by a pipe and then having it driven in with a sledgehammer.]] Ouch.
* SpecialEffectFailure: The crows that killed [[spoiler:Stanley]] in the remake are poorly CGI-rendered.
* Tearjerkers:
** In the first film
*** What happened to Jennifer.
*** [[spoiler: Matthew's guilt from what he had done.]]
** In the second film
*** What happened to Katie.
** In the third film
*** How Jennifer is doing when we catch up with her. [[spoiler: Short answer: Not good. She's living alone, working a "shitty job" and still has nightmares and flashbacks from her rape years earlier.]]
*** [[spoiler: Marla's death. She was the first friend that Jennifer had in years.]]
*** [[spoiler: One scene really illustrates just how far gone she now is. While burning the clothing she used after her second murder and looking into the fire. Jennifer: "Forgive me Father, for I don't give a shit."]]
*** [[spoiler: Jennifer changing her name to Angela because "she didn't want to be Jennifer Hills anymore." Even Bolton is momentarily put off by her matter-of-fact reply.]]
*** [[spoiler: Oscar's death. He was a good man who had lost his daughter to suicide. Said suicide was due to her rapist being acquitted. After learning his daughter's rapist was killed and who was found with him, he quickly put two-and-two together and killed himself while taking the blame.]]
*** [[spoiler: Jennifer's anguished "No!" upon seeing Oscar bleed out on the floor in front of her.]]
*** [[spoiler: Jennifer's final slip into insanity, culminating in her encounter with Chief in the park and her being shot.]]
*** [[spoiler: Despite getting court-ordered therapy, Jennifer has no interest in getting help. From her last fantasy, she looks quite eager to continue killing people.]]
*** [[spoiler: In general, we get to see more of the collateral damage that ensues from Jennifer's killing. Not that she really cares.]]

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