Film / Jennifer's Body

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Jennifers_body_ver2.jpg

Jennifer's Body is an 2009 Comedy Horror film written by Diablo Cody, the writer of Juno, and starring Megan Fox and Amanda Seyfried. Jennifer is a high school cheerleader who goes to a rock concert, where the band tries to sacrifice her to Satan in order to get a record deal. It works, but Jennifer gets possessed by a demon in the process, causing her to start seducing, killing, and eating the boys in her school. Upon finding out, Needy, Jennifer's "plain jane" best friend since childhood, sets out to stop her from wiping out the student body.

The name of the film is taken from the song "Jennifer's Body" by Hole. Oddly, the song does not appear in the film, although another track from the same album does.


This film has examples of the following tropes:

  • Adult Fear: Imagine being in the shoes of Jennifer's mother. You come into your daughter's bedroom, not suspecting a thing is wrong, only to find that she's been (or so it seems) murdered by her best friend.
    • Jonas and Colin's parents have to deal with the fact that their sons were brutally murdered and eaten.
    • Imagine also being Ahmet's parents. Your son goes on an exchange trip to a foreign country, only to presumably die in an out-of-control fire... except he's actually been eaten alive.
  • Alpha Bitch: Jennifer was like this even before she turned into a demon. Needy just seems to be somewhat safe from her more overt jerkass tendencies.
    • Jennifer's Alpha Bitch slowly begins rearing its head towards Needy when she notices how close friends Needy was with Colin and later how in love Needy and Chip were and decides to eat first Colin and then later Chip just because she wanted to take what Needy had.
  • Ambiguously Bi: Anita "Needy" Lesnicky has a boyfriend, whom she cares about very deeply. She also makes out with Jennifer, and seems to be really into it before she breaks it off. Jennifer herself has been intimate with lots of boys, but she also passionately makes out with Needy.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Chip's little sister Camille.
    You're penis cheese!
  • Antagonist Title: Jennifer becomes the main antagonist after her possession. Needy is the protagonist.
  • Asshole Victim: Low Shoulder really had it coming.
  • Badass Boast: "I am going to eat your soul and shit it out, Lesnicky!!"
  • Bait-and-Switch Lesbians: The earliest trailers showed Jennifer and Needy in intimate situations and despite their making out in the movie, both of them have male love interests(if you can call Jennifer's victims love interests). However, there is enough Les Yay in the movie for someone to reasonably assume that the two girls were at least bisexual. The argument could even be made for Jennifer being an outright lesbian, since all of her male interests were either the result of jockeying for social position, or trying to keep Needy for herself. In fact, after a scene of Needy gazing a little too blissfully at Jennifer another girl says to her point blank: "You are totally LesbiGay."
  • Big Bad Friend: Jennifer. She even tries to stay "friends" with Needy... kinda.
  • Big "NO!": Needy lets out several after Chip's death.
  • Bigger Bad: Jennifer may be the main antagonist, but it was the actions of Low Shoulder that turned her into a monster.
  • Black Comedy: Jennifer asking Needy for a tampon to plug her gaping stomach wound.
    • Jonas' grief-stricken father loudly declaring that he's going to find his son's killer, chop off his balls and use them as a door knocker.
    • When Needy and Chip are having sex for the first time, the former starts sensing Jennifer's murder of Colin and freaks out appropriately. Chip, on the other hand, mistakes her gasps for pleasurable ones and looks extremely pleased with himself.
    • Jennifer's reaction when Needy stabs her through the heart? "My tit!"
  • Black Dude Dies First: While not the first death shown on-screen, Jennifer's first victim is Ahmet, the Indian exchange student.
  • Body Horror: As a horror movie involving a girl shifting into a demon would require. See Nightmare Face for more details.
  • Brainy Brunette and Dumb Blonde: Inverted. The brunette Jennifer is an airheaded Alpha Bitch (though it's implied that she's just playing dumb), while the blonde Needy is a Hollywood Nerd.
  • Break the Cutie: Poor, poor Needy. She starts out as a cheerful if easily pushed around young girl with a caring boyfriend, but after everything she goes through she becomes angry, violent, unstable and vengeful.
  • Breast Attack: "My tit!" Justified, seeing as Needy has to stab through Jennifer's breast to get to her heart.
  • Buffy Speak: Diablo Cody wrote this movie... and it shows.
  • Cassandra Truth: Chip initially doesn't believe Needy's seemingly outrageous claims about Jennifer, not that you can blame him. Also, Needy is the only one who knows that Low Shoulder aren't the heroes everyone else thinks they are; no-one else believes her when she states otherwise, presumably because that's part of Low Shoulder's Deal with the Devil.
  • Catholic School Girls Rule: See the poster.
  • The Cheerleader: Vapid, skanky, and bullying... and that's before she gets possessed.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • The BFF necklace that Jennifer wears.
    • The whirlpool beneath the falls. In Act I, Needy says that no one knows where it empties out at. In Act III, she finds out, finding Chekhov's Gun number 3:
    • The knife that Jennifer was sacrificed with.
  • Coming and Going: Chip and Needy having sex for the first time, juxtaposed with Jennifer killing and eating Colin.
  • Contagious Powers: Being bitten by a demon and surviving gives you some of its power.
  • Cursed with Awesome: Jennifer believes that her possession is essentially this (in a deleted scene, she is openly amused when Needy speculates about a possible cure for Jennifer's curse). Needy herself becomes Cursed with Awesome at the end of the movie.
  • Deal with the Devil: Low Shoulder tries to do this in order to become successful.
  • Death by Sex: Played so straight it's likely a parody of this trope — Jennifer uses the promise of sex to lure boys into places where she can eat them.
  • Demonic Possession: Jennifer, after being sacrificed by a band. Interestingly, the demon doesn't seem to take over her entire personality, but amplifies her Jerkass tendencies Up to Eleven. She also suffers from a nasty Horror Hunger, and gains supernatural powers such as increased strength and healing, levitation, and teleportation.
  • Depraved Bisexual
    Needy: I thought you only killed boys?
    Jennifer: I go both ways.
  • Did You Just Have Sex?
    Jennifer: It smells like Thai food in here. Have you guys been fucking?
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Jennifer's abduction by Low Shoulder has some extremely rape-y overtones. They take advantage of her shock at the bar burning down to ply her with drink, bundle her into their van, and drive off with her into the woods. During the journey, a terrified Jennifer even outright asks if they're rapists, and doesn't get a straight response.
  • Downer Ending: Some of the main cast are killed (Jennifer and Chip), and Needy gets put in an insane asylum. On the plus side, Karma Houdini was averted since Needy gained some of Jennifer's powers (super strength and levitation, at the least) and proceeded to escape and murder all of Low Shoulder.
  • Dramatic Necklace Removal: Needy does this to Jennifer.
  • Drunk on the Dark Side: Jennifer really enjoys her new powers after becoming possessed and seems to revel in the murders she commits.
  • Dying Moment of Awesome: Chip's impalement of Jennifer.
  • Enemy to All Living Things: When Jennifer is about to attack, animals all around her start fidgeting and screeching.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Dirk from Low Shoulder is against the idea of sacrificing Jennifer to Satan. Nikolai from the band then asks him if he wants to work the rest of his life in a coffee shop and be a big loser or " to be rich and awesome like that guy from Maroon 5". Dirk chooses the latter option. He's still not exactly happy with it, though, and can be seen looking away as Nikolai stabs Jennifer.
  • Evil Tastes Good: Jennifer describes the post-feeding "buzz" like this:
    Jennifer: "You know when you kiss a boy for the first time and it feels like your entire body is on vibrate."
    Needy: "Yeah."
    Jennifer: "It's that good."
  • Extreme Doormat: Needy to Jennifer, at the beginning.
  • Fake Band: Low Shoulder.
  • Fan Disservice: Yes, it is Megan Fox, but it is somewhat difficult to find Jennifer sexy when she's covered in blood, has a mouthful of sharp piranha teeth, and is acting creepy as hell. Not to mention the way her cheeks split open when she feeds.
  • Fanservice: The entire marketing campaign was built on Megan Fox's hotness.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Low Shoulder might be considered this, especially the lead singer Nikolai. He chats to Jennifer in an almost friendly manner and jokes around as he's preparing to sacrifice her to Satan.
  • Fille Fatale: Jennifer really gets around.
  • Finger-Suck Healing: In a flashback, Needy did this for Jennifer when they were children. It is implied that this is why Needy is able to sense when Jennifer is about to kill someone.
  • Foreshadowing: At the very beginning, Needy kicks an orderly at the psychiatric institution with such force that she ends up flying across the table and even knocks out one of her teeth. It later turns out that she gained some of Jennifer's demonic powers, such as Super Strength.
    • When the teacher is mentioning the victims of the Melody Lane fire, Jennifer giggles after he says the name of Ahmet, the Indian exchange student. As it turns out, Ahmet was Jennifer's first victim.
  • Giggling Villain: Jennifer indulges in some very creepy giggling shortly after her possession.
  • Girl-on-Girl Is Hot: Is there any other reason why this film has a minute-long scene of Megan Fox and Amanda Seyfried making out?
  • Glasgow Grin: Jennifer's face when she feeds has shades of this. When she opens her mouth to eat Jonas, her cheeks visibly split open.
  • A God Am I: After realizing her newfound healing ability, Jennifer burns her tongue with a lighter then loudly declares "I am a god."
  • Godiva Hair: Jennifer, before she eats Jonas.
  • Gone Horribly Right: Low Shoulder's "virgin" sacrifice. It got them fame and fortune (and drugs and hos) but it also brought back a man eating demon.
  • Gorn: Jonas' corpse is briefly shown, entrails hanging out for all to see. We later see Colin's messy corpse, but it isn't nearly as graphic as the state Jonas was left in.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: For most of the deaths, although we do get to see their messy remains afterwards.
  • Goth: Colin.
  • Great Big Library of Everything: Parodied when Needy discovers the truth about Jennifer's demonic possession from books found in the school library.
    Chip: We have an occult section in the library?
    Needy: Yeah. It's really small.
  • Greater Scope Villain: None other than Satan.
  • Happy Flashback: There are several flashbacks about Needy and Jennifer's childhood. These scenes have bright colors compared to the rest of the movie.
  • Healing Factor: Jennifer gains healing powers upon her possession. The healing is faster after she's recently fed - when she's weaker, the healing is slower.
  • Heart in the Wrong Place: Jennifer places Jonas's hand above her left breast and asks him to feel her heart.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard / Karmic Death: Needy murders all of the members of Low Shoulder using the same knife they sacrificed Jennifer with. To further add insult to injury, she leaves the knife embedded in Nikolai's chest.
  • Hollywood Hype Machine: From the marketing, to even the movie poster at the top of the page, this movie was pretty much an attempt to cash in on Megan Fox's status as an "It Girl." It backfired.
  • Hollywood Satanism: Low Shoulder.
  • Horny Devils: Jennifer - a type of succubus, to be exact.
  • Horror Hunger: For everyone else involved, Jennifer seems to have no qualms about her new diet whatsoever.
  • How We Got Here: The film starts with Needy in a psychiatric hospital, and most of the film consists of her showing us how she got to that point.
  • I Don't Like the Sound of That Place: Devil's Kettle.
  • I Have Boobs, You Must Obey!: Jennifer uses this to get drinks, despite being underage. She explicitly calls Needy's tits "smart bombs" for their destructive power.
  • Iconic Outfit: Jennifer likes to sleep in a 3/4-sleeve shirt, short underwear, and either knee-length socks or legwarmers.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Jennifer butchers and devours her victims.
  • Impact Silhouette: When Needy escapes the psychiatric institution at the end, she walks straight through the wire fence, leaving a large hole in her wake.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Chip impales Jennifer with a large pole just before he dies. It doesn't kill her, but he deserves points for trying.
  • Imperfect Ritual: Another "sacrifice is not a virgin" example: the rockers sacrifice Jennifer thinking she's a virgin, but since she's not, a succubus takes over her body.
  • Indecisive Parody: One common criticism of the movie is the fact that it flops back and forth between being intentionally silly and seeming to take itself seriously.
  • Intentionally Awkward Title: Just try saying "Jennifer's Body" in a casual conversation without adding the words "the movie" before it. See what happens.
  • Irony: Near the end of the film, a road sign warning about low shoulder is shown.
  • Jabba Table Manners: Jennifer, when she tries to eat the chicken from Needy's fridge.
  • Jerkass: Jennifer starts out as one, but she becomes a lot crueller after her possession. Also Nikolai.
  • Jump Scare: Used a few times, most notably when Jennifer is suddenly standing right behind Needy shortly after her murder and possession, and then later in the same scene when she suddenly lets out a demonic roar. Also used when a bird frightens Colin when he is trying to find Jennifer in the partially-constructed house.
  • Kick the Dog: Jennifer loves doing this, particularly after her possession.
  • Mama Bear: Needy's mother invokes this.
    I dreamed some bad people were trying to nail you to a tree with hammers and big stakes and shit. Just like J.C. But I didn't let 'em get to you, 'cause I'm a hard-assed, Ford-tough mama bear.
  • Manipulative Bitch: Jennifer is an example of the type that doesn't have some big, complicated plan. Even when she starts killing people, her transparent playing on Needy's insecurities is closer to simple Alpha Bitch bullying than towards any actual goal.
  • Manly Tears: Jonas, after his best friend dies in the fire.
  • Meaningful Name: The title.
    • You'd never guess what Needy's defining trait is.
    • The town too. Of course a demonic sacrifice would happen in a town called "Devil's Kettle".
  • Mood Whiplash: Intentionally invoked in the scene that jumps between Jennifer seducing, then devouring some poor schmuck and Needy and Chip's WAFFy sex.
  • More Teeth than the Osmond Family: Jennifer has lots of sharp little piranha-style teeth when feeding on people.
  • Motifs: A "cross" symbol shows up multiple times: on the bottom of the isolation cell Needy is placed into, crosses are drawn onto the hands of Melody Lane patrons, and, at the end, Needy slashes a cross shape into Jennifer's torso. This also extends to the dialogue ("Boo, cross out Needy").
  • Nerd Glasses: Needy wears them.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: The trailer contained some great one-liners cut out of the actual movie.
  • Nice Guy: Chip and Colin.
  • Nightmare Face: Jennifer, when feeding. She gains sharp little piranha-like teeth, her mouth splits open extremely wide, Glasgow Grin style, and she gains Hellish Pupils.
  • Ninja Pirate Robot Zombie: Chip invokes this when he says this about Jonas' mother: "She's staring out the window like a zombie mannequin robot statue."
  • Nothing Is Scarier: Used to great effect shortly before Needy discovers Jennifer in her house.
  • Obviously Evil: Nikolai, Low Shoulder's lead singer, is this in Needy's eyes.
    I watched her get into that van and I knew something awful was going to happen. He was skinny and twisted and evil like this petrified tree I saw when I was a kid.
  • Odd Friendship: Jennifer and Needy. They have nothing in common but have been best friends since they were very small. Unfortunately, Jennifer is a pretty toxic friend even before she gets possessed.
  • Offscreen Teleportation: With a bit of creepy echoing whispers too.
  • Out-of-Character Alert: While not the nicest person before her possession, Jennifer's callous disregard for the deaths that resulted from the Melody Lane fire absolutely shocks Needy and is another tip-off that something is horribly wrong with her friend.
  • Popular Is Dumb: Jennifer, who is clearly far ditzier than the less popular Needy.
  • Power Floats: Provides the page quote, too!
  • The Power of Friendship: Jennifer loses her ability to levitate when Needy rips off her BFF necklace.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: At first, Jennifer only feeds when she absolutely has to, going at least a month inbetween killing Jonas and Colin. However, she eventually starts killing simply for the hell of it...
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: Kind of, since it's not said to the victim (but precedes the credits in which the act is shown).
    Passing Motorist: So, why are you headed east?
    Needy: I'm following this rock band.
    Driver: Must be one hell of a group.
    Needy: Tonight's gonna be their last show.
  • Psychic Link: It is strongly implied that Jennifer and Needy have one, following an incident when they were children in which Needy sucked the blood from a puncture on Jennifer's hand.
  • Reality Is Unrealistic: The Devil's Kettle is a real waterfall. Half the river really does disappear into the ground. Scientists have no idea where it comes back out. (The town in the movie doesn't exist, however.)
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: After discovering that she has gained some of the demon's powers, Needy uses them to escape the mental institution, so she can track down and murder all of Low Shoulder.
  • Rock Me, Asmodeus!: Low Shoulder, the indie band that tries to sacrifice Jennifer in order to get a record deal.
  • Romantic Two-Girl Friendship: Jennifer and Needy, although the trope is deconstructed.
    Needy: Sandbox love never dies.
  • Rule of Pool: Just before Jennifer eats Chip, Needy's boyfriend, she tosses him into a pool while he is wearing formal wear. She then proceeds to jump in after him. Followed soon by Needy.
  • Running Gag: One character constantly refers to Devil's Kettle as "Devil's Lake".
  • Scenery Porn: The scene where Jennifer is swimming naked in a lake. The first shot of the scene is actually a wide-angle overhead shot with Jennifer's body only a tiny speck — she's actually quite easy to miss, so for that shot at least the lake is the emphasis.
  • Self-Mutilation Demonstration: Jennifer burns her own tongue with a cigarette lighter, and slashes herself in front of Needy when she decides to share her 'secret' with her.
  • Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll: Low Shoulder is living this lifestyle when we see them on tour at the end of the movie.
  • Sex Sells: Just watch the film's ad campaign. Heck, the film's title is named after it.
  • Shadow Discretion Shot: When Jennifer kills Colin.
  • She's Got Legs: Most of the movie posters.
  • Sickening Crunch: Heard when Jennifer brutally snaps Colin's arm before she kills him.
  • Sir Not-Appearing-in-This-Trailer: Amanda Seyfried does appear in the trailers, but apart from her name on top, she is absent from all the posters, which focus exclusively on Megan Fox.
  • Slasher Smile: Jennifer displays one at various times. Most notably after she first becomes possessed and when she appears in Needy's vision sitting on top of the chair watching her and Chip have sex.
  • Sliding Scale of Comedy and Horror: Slides all around this. Scenes go from funny to shocking to funny, then back to shocking. Usually with quite a bit of sexy in the middle.
  • Slumber Party: Discussed when Jennifer appears in Needy's bed and reminisces about the sleepovers she had with her. Jennifer also tries to invoke this by appearing in said bed and then suggesting she and Needy "play boyfriend and girlfriend like [they] used to".
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: Tracks like Panic! at the Disco's "New Perspective" and Florence and the Machine's "A Kiss with a Fist" seem a bit light for a horror movie.
    • Not to mention an in-movie example when Low Shoulder sings Tommy Tutone's '867-5309/Jenny' as they murder Jennifer.
  • Stealth Parody: A flimsy plot held together with squicky Fanservice and generous helpings of self-aware Buffy Speak.
  • Stealth Pun: That quick one-liner when Jennifer calls Chip "lime green jello," when calling him jealous.
  • Straw Feminist: Jennifer has a bit of this trait, claiming that PMS was invented by "boy-run media to make (women) seem crazy". An unused exchange between her and Needy also has her trying to justify her murders thus:
    Needy: You're killing people!
    Jennifer: No, I'm killing boys.
  • Stuffed into the Fridge: Chip.
  • Super Strength: Jennifer gains this power following her possession, enabling her to seriously overpower Jonas, who is described as "the biggest guy in school". She also throws Colin around like a rag doll. Needy also gains this power after being bitten by Jennifer.
  • Take That: Some to Goth and Emo subcultures:
    • When Chip and Needy talk about Colin:
      Chip: How are you friends with Colin Gray? I thought Colin Gray only talked to the Dead Girls.
      Needy: I just am. We have Composition together. He's a really good writer. You know, he's so dark and emotional and all.
      Chip: Oh. I can relate. I'm also like that, even if I'm not all obvious about it like a poseur.
    • Jennifer mocks Colin when his arm gets cut by a pair of hedgeclippers:
      Jennifer: Oh! A puncture wound. God, that's so emo.
    • She also says this about him:
      Jennifer: He listens to maggot rock. He wears nail polish. My dick is bigger than his.#
  • That Woman Is Dead: After being well and truly broken, Needy states in a narration that she doesn't know who Needy Lesnicky is any more.
  • Thousand-Yard Stare: After Chip dies in her arms, Needy returns home, lies on her bed, and just stares into space. She later has another, smaller one after she kills Jennifer and the latter's mother walks in.
    • Jonas' mother takes to staring blankly out of her window after her son is murdered.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Needy, after gaining some of the demon's powers and becoming institutionalised.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Jennifer isn't the most pleasant person to be around, but becomes a lot nastier after becoming possessed. Also, every traumatic thing that happens to Needy turns her into a bitter, angry, violent shell of her former self.
  • Touched by Vorlons: Needy gains some of Jennifer's demon powers after being bitten by her. She uses them to break out of the mental hospital and kill Low Shoulder.
  • Two Lines, No Waiting: The Jennifer-Colin and Needy-Chip sex scenes are made this way, with constant intercuts.
  • Unusual Euphemism: Jennifer seems to make half her lines in this.
  • Unreliable Narrator: One possible interpretation. The story is told as a flashback by Anita, who is a patient in a mental hospital. The story in the flashback appears to contain multiple supernatural aspects, notably that Anita's friend Jennifer has magic powers. At the end of the film, Anita appears to use the magic powers that had supposedly been Jennifer's to break out of the asylum. Was all of it real? All the delusions of a lunatic? Not precisely real, but the truth as seen Through the Eyes of Madness?
  • Virgin Sacrifice: Low Shoulder tries to sacrifice Jennifer, thinking she's a virgin. Unfortunately, she's been having sex since Junior High. The ritual works as planned, but Jennifer gets possessed by a demon because she wasn't a virgin.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: Whenever Jennifer vomits up that demonic, spiny black sludge.
  • With Friends Like These...: Jennifer walks all over Needy, although the latter is in denial about it until the very end.
    Needy: You know what? You were never really a good friend. Even when we were little, you used to steal my toys and pour lemonade on my bed.
    Jennifer: And now, I'm eating your boyfriend. See? At least I'm consistent.

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