* AlternateCharacterInterpretation:
** Jennifer:
*** [[spoiler: By the end of the third film, it's pretty clear that she has become mentally unstable. But that last night she snuck out and got caught. She knew she was being watched by the police, yet she was wearing a clearly visible red dress and tried to kill at least two more people, one of them in front of a Detective no less. Did she really go insane that night or was it a deliberate ploy to allow her to plead insanity and dodge any serious punishment? Or was it attempted suicide by cop?]]
*** [[spoiler: In fact, given that in the third film we see that she suffers from hallucinations, did she actually kill anyone at all? There should have been other witnesses and surveillance video at the bar where Marla's ex-boyfriend was and at the storefront where she picked up the step-father. The only two confirmed times she actually tries to kill someone, she was easily overpowered and the police were there. So, was she fantasizing about killing the men in the films and someone else (Matthew, Oscar) did it? If so, then Oscar killing himself after learning about Jennifer wasn't to protect her, but a MyGodWhatHaveIDone moment that leads him to confess and kill himself to stop her from going down the same road.]]
** Matthew: [[spoiler: did his own guilt lead to him to snap and kill his "friends"? Bolton mentions that the Louisiana authorities ruled their deaths a murder-suicide, but there should have been a lot of evidence to the contrary. Also, Jennifer kidnapped Chastity. At the very least, there should have been a warrant out for her arrest. All that's ever said is that Jennifer was someone they wanted to talk to, not arrest or detain. It may be that during the investigation the authorities uncovered evidence of the truth and wanted to question Jennifer about it but couldn't find her.]]
* 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: The reason the original film exists. The director wanted to make a feminist movie that empowered rape victims through Jennifer's rampage.
* 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.
* {{Tearjerker}}:
** 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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