* 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 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.]]
* FamilyUnfriendlyAesop: The movie glorifies a RoaringRampageOfRevenge for rape as "empowering." A lot of critics slammed it for this.
** Taken further in the remake, Jennifer led to Sheriff to believe that she had killed his daughter. Being a parent who loses a child is generally regarded as the greatest trauma, which by default makes it considerably worse than rape. Probably deliberately invoked by Jennifer to torment her victim.
* 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.
* HellIsThatNoise: The harmonica tune.
* {{Narm}}: Johnny's screaming from the bathroom in the original: "It won't stop bleeding! IT WON'T STOP ''BLEEEEEDIIIIINNNGGG''!!!"
* NightmareFuel: The rape scene in the original, and the rapists' death scenes in the remake. Especially [[spoiler:Storch and Matthew's]].
* SpecialEffectFailure: The crows that killed [[spoiler:Stanley]] in the remake are poorly CGI-rendered.

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