Jennifer’s Body: A Closer Look

In the opening scenes of Jennifer’s Body, we are introduced to two prisons. The first is the desolate house in which Jennifer lives alone. Save for the semblance of life she has cobbled together from teenage magazines and the inane company of late-night television, the room appears to be emptied of all animation. In fact, it will not be until the final minutes of the film that another human presence will grace her lonely abode. This shell of a home appears to have sucked the life out of Jennifer as well, since her body – having been robbed of sustenance – appears to be falling apart. As the camera moves in and allows us a closer look, we see that she’s picking at a scab that will not go away, that her lips are chapped, and her teeth’s luster has begun to turn, her body shutting down and embracing the process of deterioration and decay, as if in protest of its conditions of (non)existence.

As Jennifer listlessly passes the time doodling in the book laid out on her lap, we will also see that she has a stalker, one whose face makes an ominous appearance in the darkened window. But her fate, like what has captured her attention in her scribblings, will be withheld from us, held in abeyance until the rest of the story has been told.

The scene that immediately follows introduces us to the remainder of that story, as well as the second prison that holds the secret to what is about to unfold. The person held there – Needy – appears to be the story’s narrator, our guide through the tale that links her prison with that of the other’s. Like her counterpart, we will see that her body is marked as well, but with signs of a different kind of affliction: scars that speak of encounters with ugly instruments of violence, angry gashes (now healed) that have made a home where none should belong.

In an earlier time, these two were the best of friends – BFFs, to be exact – and were exactly what their yearbook photographs declared them to be: Jennifer, the ever-popular cheerleader, and Needy, the dork with glasses. By now, however, the introverted one has acquired a different name (“Kicker”), feared by the staff of the facility in which she is housed and respected by fellow inmates for a spirit of rebellion that will not die. Despite this admiration, her anger will not bring her any reward; neither does it provide any relief. Instead, she will find herself locked in solitary confinement, force-fed the saccharine sounds of musak, and left to huddle in a cell marked with a giant X, as if her very existence had been erased from the face of the earth.

With this narrator’s assistance, the tale that follows will trace the lines that connect the normality of high school with these two prisons, and how the fate of one girl came to be tied to that of the other. In other words, and despite the claims of an earlier posting, the story being told here belongs neither to Jennifer nor Needy alone. It is, instead, a tale of their shared fate, one that had its beginnings in childhood, cemented in an apparently innocent declaration, forever binding them, one to the other.

The Binary Code

Needy will call it “Sandbox Love.” As little girls they played together, already tussling over the twinned roles of Perfect Prom Betty and Ugly Ashley, precursors of what they would later become. But just as they are doing battle over who gets to be whom, Jennifer cries out in pain – a tack having pierced her hand – and Needy will come to her aid, cleaning the blood away with her lips, as if sealing this (new) relationship with a kiss. And just like that, the stage has been set. For a promise is also made that binds them, seemingly forever.

Jennifer: “Don’t tell my Mom about this, she’ll make me get a shot.”
Needy: “I’ll never tell on you.”

And lest we overlook the kind of secret pact made on that day, this much is clear: the apparently strong one, i.e., Jennifer, is the one that relies upon Needy’s love and protection. In fact, it could be said that Jennifer is the needy one, for reasons that probably exceed the prick of a pin. But with time, this fact will come to be obscured, as each becomes the other (perfect/ugly) identity that has been assigned to them. Despite being relegated to being the plain one, Needy clearly benefits from this relationship, and not merely by virtue of basking in Jennifer’s reflected glory. She also acquires sustenance received from the other’s hand. For if this story is about a certain kind of “vampire,” Needy is the first in that line of feeders, having already tasted another life’s blood. Protection and vampiric feeding are the two sides of this relationship and, despite her mousy appearance and willingness to be overshadowed by her extroverted partner, it is Needy that plays the dominant role.

Whether these figures are in fact two people – rather than one – will remain unclear. But, ultimately, this does not matter since the dynamic put into play remains the same. It is found among all “unlikely” pairs, whether they be found in the relationships (BFF or otherwise) that form between two souls or whether they be taken as two aspects of a single personality. It is a constellation of two – a binary system – that has a logic of its own, where each brings a certain energy, and set of limitations, to the equation, each compensating for a lack in the other. And it is precisely this complementarity of strengths and weaknesses, fitting together like pieces of a puzzle, that makes it feel like love, as if they were made for each other.

But this kind of “pact” can inhabit a single personality as well, just as unconscious as that which often exists between two individuals. For the relationship, if it can be called that, operates at a level below consciousness (which is why some have come to call it participation mystique). When characteristic of an internal world, both “roles” are played by an individual pulled in two opposing directions. One highly efficient and organized, the other driven by passions that can barely be contained. One who can always be counted upon to be nurturing and understanding, the other screaming at the gods wishing that life itself would come to an end.

As it relates the two protagonists here and the story that’s being told, it’s difficult not to come to the conclusion that whatever Needy promised to provide Jennifer, she was too young and too incapable to provide.

Perhaps Jennifer had nowhere else to turn since, as far as we can tell, her mother is largely an absent figure. (No mention is made of fathers, as if they were irrelevant to our tale or completely out-of-the-picture.) As children seeking to compensate for privations they couldn’t quite understand, both suffer the blows of what life has to offer. It is the terrible fate of youth, particularly those left without adequate resources to face what comes their way, bravely finding ways to survive. Absent any choice but to embrace the frugal offerings of a world left out-of-balance.

The Limits of Understanding

The fact that Needy is incapable of living up to her promise becomes quickly evident when, on the heels of one fateful night, she is unable to see the brutality visited upon her childhood friend. Yes, the visual signs of trauma are there – and Needy “sees” them – but they do not fully register, as if it were a bad dream or cruel joke seeking to puncture the cocoon of reality upon which she had come to depend for her grounding in the world. So, instead of rushing to Jennifer’s side, she will revert to words, inquiring about what had happened, asking for an articulation of the damage suffered at others’ hands. The words she seeks will fail to come and, in their stead, the empty space will be filled with another language that leaves Needy both baffled and repelled. Inchoate grunts and screams emerge from a battered body that can only convulse in semi-consciousness. And following an aborted attempt at feeding herself on the food of humans, a torrent of sludge emerges from Jennifer’s mouth, the essence of which is so putrid that Needy would (later) come to describe as the embodiment Evil.

Clearly, something had been done to Jennifer. Her body provided unmistakable signs of that. It’s clear, too, that Jennifer came to Needy in light of their pact, seeking the help and understanding that only she could provide. But when that was not forthcoming, she is forced to seek nourishment elsewhere, at first turning to the refrigerator, wolfing down whatever it had to offer. But because this does not – and cannot – provide the sustenance she so desperately needs, it will be violently repelled, giving evidence of the dark secret which Needy is too frightened to recognize. In the absence of validation, even if nothing other than the mere recognition of her pain, Jennifer is sent into a vicious spiral, a cycle of binge-and-purge that will leave her forever unfilled.

So, faced with Needy’s incapacity to respond, Jennifer will leave. And Needy will be left with her confusion: uncertain about the events leading up to this encounter – although the signs were already there – and unsure of what kind of beast had just left its entrails on her kitchen floor.

And yet, before taking her leave and just as Needy is getting ready to call for someone else to intervene, Jennifer will push Needy to the wall, as if getting ready to inflict her own version of the violence she had suffered earlier that night. And then, as if tugged by an affection with roots deeper than her despair, she begins to caress Needy’s body. And as her hand leaves its bloody trail on her childhood friend – and her portrait hanging on the wall – we are left to wonder what else is being blotted out here. For just as Jennifer readies herself to take a bite from her friend’s neck, a different kind of nourishment available to her, she chooses to withdraw instead, and walks out the door.

And in that single moment, we can’t fail to realize that their roles have been reversed, as Needy has come to be protected by Jennifer in more ways than one. Not only has she been shielded from the awful events of that night or spared the appetite that has emerged in Jennifer as a consequence. Needy has also been saved from the knowledge of whose body had been violated and whose blood had come to stain Jennifer’s hand.

Demonic Transference

The all-important event around which the entire story revolves occurs in their hometown, Devil’s Kettle (pop. 7036), so named for a waterfall that disappears into a hole in the ground. = Apparently, what goes down there never sees the light of day. = Scientists have thrown all sorts of objects into its mouth, including a tubful of colored balls, which seem to have disappeared from the face of the earth.

Jennifer has hauled Needy away from an evening planned with her boyfriend, Chip, to see an indie band playing at the local bar. Low Shoulder is their name and Jennifer’s especially interested in seeing their “extra salty” lead singer; she also promises that there will be lots of “salty morsels” there for Needy, too. What we are to make of this exchange, or what follows, is not clear. But once they have entered the bar, we are introduced to an entirely different side of Jennifer, one not as clearly evident before. One in which the seedy side of sex is ever on her lips. Even though she has yet to achieve the age of majority – “I can’t wait until I’m old enough to get wasted” – she seems to have a knowledge of sex, or seems especially conscious about the act of copulation, that belies her apparent youthfulness. So, when Needy sees Ahmet, the foreign exchange student from India, sitting close by, all Jennifer can wonder is whether he’s circumcised or not. (“I always wanted to try sea cucumber.”) It’s also clear that she’s used to drawing the attention of boys and men, not all of it welcomed, and that some of the “edge” that we are witness to can be attributed to this effect she seems to have on them.

Strangely enough, however, when Jennifer finally meets the “salty” singer, she turns into mush, as if she were a little girl meeting her idol for the first time, and when the band begins to play, it’s as if she were in heaven. With this, we see another side of her relationship with Needy, for Jennifer seems to need a witness to this – her bliss – and Needy gets a charge out of that, too. For quite unexpectedly, in the midst of her entrancement with the band on stage, Jennifer reaches down to clasp Needy’s hand, as if this was a secret only the two of them could share. But only for just a moment. Soon, Jennifer’s attention will return to that other place, as if caught by the gravity of another planet.

This is a bitter sweet moment for Needy, and not merely because Jennifer’s eyes have turned to take in the sight of another. Rather, she had heard the members of the band talking among themselves – about Jennifer, in fact – debating whether she was a virgin. (“Listen, I grew up in a town like this. There’s always that girl: they love to show it off, but they do not give it up.”) Needy will rush to Jennifer’s defense. But rather than leave, they will stay for the show. After all, this is Jennifer’s night out and her opportunity to have a good time, despite the creepy banter Needy has overheard.

When the music begins, the bar – quite inexplicably – bursts into flame. The crowd goes into a panic and lives will be lost during the mad scramble for the door. Needy will have the presence of mind to lead Jennifer through the bathroom window, but just as they are beginning to catch their breath, the “salty” singer will mysteriously reappear, cocktail in hand, offering his assistance. (“Wanna head someplace safer, like my van?”) Predictably, it’s only Jennifer to whom the offer is made, and still in a daze – over what, exactly, it’s not clear – she agrees to go, despite Needy’s protest that they should head home, instead.

Our narrator will recount her feelings from that moment, and her certainty that nothing good could come from this kindly offer of “assistance.”

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.

As Jennifer disappears into the dark of night, we are left with the heavy sounds of Needy gasping for breath, overwhelmed by the magnitude of this thing that has come to pass, one too momentous to fully understand. So, if it’s fair to say that Needy found herself unable to live up to her side of the relationship later that night – when Jennifer finally returns bloodied and broken – it could also be said that the fateful break occurred earlier, at this very moment, when her best friend came to be swallowed by Evil itself.

The (Insufferable) Sound of Silence

The following day, just as everyone is reeling with shock from the news of the fire and the dead that have been left in its wake, Needy is floored to see Jennifer looking as if nothing had ever happened. She is her usual chipper self, tinged as it is with her usual sarcasm and profanities. More surprising than this, however, is her appearance, virtually picture perfect, not a hair out of place, casually applying gloss to her lips.

The contrast couldn’t be more pronounced, either in comparison with the vision of hell that had visited Needy the night before or here, at school, with everyone else crumbling under the weight of the fire that killed eight members of their community.

The town will rally around the tragedy, bearing witness to the lives cut short by the fire and seeking to recover from the shock of the unwanted and uninvited. The band, Low Shoulder, will make the news – ensuring their commercial viability – by playing-up their (“unfortunate”) connection to those awful events, even donating a portion of the proceeds of their song Through the Trees to the families of those lost that night. Quite predictably, as if taken from a play book, the school will adopt the song, the very tune that had held Jennifer in thrall, as their own, an unofficial anthem and ode to the dead, and a declaration of the pained shock of having survived their fate.

Given the silence that shrouds her own experience that night, Jennifer will have little tolerance for such sentimental displays of community. For how little do they know about the nature of loss or the despair of having survived the visitation of tragedy’s hand …

This is the context in which the decay of Jennifer’s body will begin: her glow will slowly fade and her hair will begin to fall out; no longer will she be the shiny one that catches everyone’s eye. Notably, this is also the time when a new cycle of killing begins, throwing the town into an ever greater panic – and receiving even more attention from the (national) media – aghast at the number of dead accumulating within the tiny perimeter of Devil’s Kettle, wondering what they had done to deserve such a fate.

Confronting the Demon

After one of her feedings, and finally able to explain what happened on that awful night, Jennifer will return to Needy’s side, and the veil that had obscured the events following her abduction will finally be lifted. The story, however, will be coded – presented as a Satanic ritual – for there is no other way to convey the nature of what was done to her. As a result, we, like Needy, will be left to our own devices to give meaning to her recounting of what happened that awful night.

A mere stone’s throw from the bottomless pit of Devil’s Kettle and its Fall, Jennifer was bound and gagged under a waxing moon (since that’s what the ritual called for). She was to be a virgin offering made to Satan, and so her sacrifice was prepared, accompanied by the sounds of incantation and song. (Need it be said that her desperate pleadings and screams of protest fell on deaf ears?) Finally, a knife would be raised in preparation for its final descent. And then, it came. And darkness fell.

It should have killed me,
but for some reason, it didn’t.

– Maybe it did –
Anyway, I don’t really remember what happened after that.
I just know that I woke up and I found my way back to you.

– I remember –
I couldn’t bring myself to hurt you.
I mean, I’m a really good friend.
I was just so hungry.

Once again, Jennifer will try to get closer to Needy, stroking her hair before leaning forward to join lips with hers. This time, Needy will respond, finding herself drawn to her childhood friend, and no longer in a “sandbox” kind of way. The camera’s eye will linger on hands and mouths, mimicking the magnified sensations brought on by the touch of two bodies opening up to the other.

But since Needy will not be able to erase the vision of Jennifer she had seen earlier that night, this embrace will be cut short. (“Why were you covered in blood? You didn’t even look human.”) And in asking these questions, the “truth” of the situation will slowly begin dawn on her: the rash of murders at Devil’s Kettle is the work of Jennifer’s hand, that it is this to which Jennifer refers when she says she’s full, and that this explains how (and why) her appearance goes through inexplicable cycles of rejuvenation and decay.

Once again, Jennifer will leave, but this time at Needy’s bidding, and they will not speak again, at least not until the final confrontation that provides the penultimate climax for this film’s story.

But lest we consider Needy’s rejection of Jennifer as (only) a principled stand on behalf of the dead, we should think again. For there are several uncomfortable facts with which Needy must contend. Earlier that night, just as Jennifer was luring another victim for the kill and Needy was spending a quiet night of seduction with her boyfriend, blood had – quite inexplicably – begun seeping through the ceiling, as if Jennifer’s doings were not so foreign to her own. And as her head turned, she would be met by the ghost of another of Jennifer’s boy-victims over whom crouches her childhood friend, looking more feral than a child wrenched from her family and raised by wolves.

If it hadn’t dawned on her yet, it surely will have crossed the mind of those in the audience that each of Jennifer’s victims were connected to Needy in some way. The first one to experience Jennifer’s hunger that fateful night was the Indian boy, Ahmet, the same one who had caught Needy’s eye while waiting to hear Low Shoulder play. And tonight, it was the Goth boy of whom Needy had grown quite fond. (“He’s a really good writer. He’s, like, all dark and emotional and stuff.”) If Needy has been paying attention, she will surely have noticed that Jennifer has also been showing an increasing interest in Chip in recent days. It’s as if she’s been circling like a bird of prey, slowly making her way from the margins of Needy’s world to those closest and dearest to her heart.

It is for these reasons that Needy will come to be obsessed with Jennifer’s behavior, trying to better understand what is happening to her. It is also why she will refuse to go to the prom with Chip, for that place will surely be the Devil’s playground. And what other means does she have at her disposal to protect the one she loves, even if it means that, in doing so, she will also be breaking his heart?

Delving into the Paranormal

Because none of this makes any sense, Needy will turn to the occult section of the school’s library, hoping that it will help shed light on the “ritual” to which Jennifer was subject, including its frightening after effects.

She will learn what a succubus is, read about the use of virgins in satanic sacrifice, as well the procedures by which a demon can be destroyed. (“Demons are weakest when hungry. But a blade to the heart is the surest way to kill the beast.”) Quite excitedly, and with no small sense of urgency, she will try to explain what she has learned to Chip, but he will not understand. Even as she tries to explain the nature of demonic transference to him, he will balk, vacillating between wanting to believe her while remaining palpably unable to give any credence to what she has to say.

It all makes sense now!
Read this:
“If the human sacrifice is impure, the result may still be obtained,
but a demon will forever reside in the soul of the victim.
She must forever feed on flesh to sustain the demon.”

– Okay … –
She’s eating boys!

As Needy had predicted, it’s the night of the prom when Jennifer finally makes her move on Chip and, not insignificantly, its her body that tells Needy that something horrible is about to happen, just beyond her field of vision. If there had been any lingering doubt, at that moment she will finally be convinced about the nature of what it is she is doing battle against. Needy will finally be roused to act – much like the Confessor’s Blood Rage – in defense of the one she loves.

All she dare hope is that she’s not too late.

Apocalypse

If we allow ourselves pause to consider the nature of the long-standing relationship between Jennifer and Needy, including their recent falling out with each other, it’s clear that whatever love they shared, it was also shot through with ambivalence. During the course of the film, they enact this love and hate for each other, literally drawing close to while also feeling repelled by the other. Or, more precisely, it is Jennifer who wants Needy close by, while Needy is the one who pulls back. Notably, this ambivalence is also a key trait of addiction, much like the “functioning” alcoholic who yearns for the release brought on by that first drink but who also knows that as one drink becomes two (or three or five), the spirits will come to be unleashed, returning him to a haunting that knows no end. The same can be said of any addiction, evident in the alternation between compulsion and revulsion, the desire to “give in” to an unbridled desire and efforts to reign it in. This is, in fact, what we see in relation to each of Jennifer’s feedings, with Needy placed in the position of the haunted one.

Marion Woodman describes addictions such as these as “apocalyptic.” And while this word has come to signify the cataclysm of forces announcing the end of the world – and, for Needy, there’s no small part of that at work here – it’s also worth reminding ourselves that the word itself speaks to the nature of revelation (i.e., to uncover, to disclose). In other words, locked within the frightening force of addiction lies a truth submerged below the surface, one that contains the seeds of destruction … but also the possibility of insight, and a new beginning.

Whenever anything is repressed – whether it be socially (in the silence that dares not speak its shame) or psychically (a buried truth that’s too painful to bear) – it is the body that bears the brunt of these evasions. But, as if to keep the truth alive, it is also the body that acts out, refusing to comply with the conspiracy of silence that seeks to keep her contained. The fact that she appears “monstrous” is merely a reflection of the commitments that have agreed to keep her at bay, marginalized and silenced, as if ignoring the truth would make it go away. However, like a moth to flame, the body will be drawn to pain, precisely because it speaks of a reality that others are only too eager to ignore. (“I need you frightened. I need you hopeless.”) And in that pain, the addict finds the face of God, a truth long buried and banished from earthly existence. By virtue of the repressions that delimit the conditions of its being, the body of the addict contains a secret of its own: a code yearning to be broken.

So, whatever else these seeds of change may be, in the face of addiction, they are caught-up in confusion. For when Needy finally confronts Jennifer, we will see that their positions have been reversed, once again. This time, Jennifer will be dressed in white – the innocent one? – while Needy acts out a Blood Rage on behalf of the one she loves. When Jennifer is stabbed through the gut, it will not be entirely clear whose body has been penetrated, even though their body language would seem to indicate that it is Jennifer (and not Needy) who had been pierced. And should we think these confusions and reversals are merely signs of an overly convoluted story, quietly tucked away in the scene leading up to Needy’s research into the occult, we see a sign announcing the school’s production of Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?: The Musical. (And need we be reminded that, etymologically, “occult” merely identifies what has been occluded, covered over, and concealed?)

The fact that it is not Jennifer that’s being “killed” but something else is signaled by the symmetries and inverted pairings provided throughout the film. And when we are finally returned to the bedroom with which the movie began, in the aftermath of the final battle between Needy and Jennifer, we will find two bodies – not one – lying limp on the bed. Quite significantly, too, the mother cradling her daughter in her arms will seem oblivious to the second girl in the room, the one who would seem to be responsible for the death of the other.

Rather than death, then, it would appear that something else has happened. For it is only when the token of their pact is yanked from Jennifer’s body that their floating world comes to an end, and the force of gravity once again takes hold. And this is when, following the directions she found in her research, Needy moves in for her attack. Her chosen instrument of battle – “It’s used for cutting boxes” – will be plunged into Jennifer’s chest, and their final words will repeat the age-long confusion that has held them locked in a demonic embrace: Jennifer will believe that it’s her breast that has been the object of Needy’s aggression when, in fact, it is her heart that was the intended target.

When Needy removes her weapon and rolls over to Jennifer’s side, shattered glass (from where?) will fall to the ground, as if something vital and precious had finally been broken. Perhaps it is the protective casing of childhood – and sandbox love – that is no longer needed. Or perhaps it is the adolescent ideal that has finally been overcome, since it is Jennifer’s cheerleading magazine upon which the camera lingers, as knife and broken glass are pulled to the earth below.

Aftermath

“Hell: it’s a teenage girl.”

Perhaps, too, this is how we can give meaning to the film’s opening line. For when she is forced to choose half of herself, repressing the other that is equally her own, she becomes a fractured being, forever beholden to – while repelled by – that which is different than what she has elected (or forced) to be. So, whether this results in a psychic confusion that swings her between the poles of Good and Evil, or caught in an ambivalent relation to the inverted image she finds in the Other, she is doomed to the kind of haunting we have witnessed throughout this story.

The “hell,” in other words, is not the girl herself, but the forces with which she must contend. She is simultaneously the recipient of the gaze of admiration (and lust) of boys and men that turn her into an object to be possessed and consumed, even while she is forced to live in a world that pretends that this is not so. This silent evasion will, in turn, produce other occlusions, including ones that come to reside in herself. Quite cruelly, then, the different faces of desire – of others as well as her own, the ugly as well as the beautiful – come to be repressed, and she is compelled to construct a life that pretends that it does not exist. All the while, circuits of passion will continue to animate the world about her, and she will be left alone to find her way through the tangle of forces that compete for her affection. These are the grounds upon which addictions are born.

Perhaps this is also why there is no relief brought about after that final encounter, when Needy had stabbed Jennifer through the heart. For during the course of our story’s narration, after Needy had already become someone else (“Kicker”), another transformation was also taking place. Locked in her cell and overwhelmed by an anger that could not be contained, she discovered a method for detaching herself from what had come to define her life, including the rage that was consuming her. Left with no other choice but to claim this prison as a room of her own, and shorn of all connection to the outside world, she will revisit the events of the past in order to give a sense to them that was not available to her before. And from that meticulous and painful process, she achieves a certain kind of enlightenment.

Only then, after the transformation is complete, after Needy-Jennifer-Kicker has become someone else, does our narrator recognize that the force that had haunted her from a distance – and then later came to possess her very soul – that this force of the demon (“divinity, genius, tutelary deity”) had now come to be her own. With this recognition and insight, she is finally able to break out of her prison and return to the very world that, in her earlier existence, had produced her previous fragmentation.

As she walks toward her date with destiny, she happens upon a spring at the side of the road and, within it, she finds the objects presumed to have been lost to the pit of hell called Devil’s Kettle. Among them she will also see the instrument used by Low Shoulder in their ritual sacrifice to Satan, and she will take this to be her own, as well. For the Earth has finally given up what had been hidden in its bowels, and that weapon of destruction can now – finally – be wielded as her personal Sword of Truth.

As the film closes, we are privy to scenes from another place through images from other genres – the paparazzi, home video, crime scene photographs, and surveillance cameras – signalling our entry into a world beyond that depicted in the film. And in that world we will see our protagonist coming to terms with what had sought to steal her soul. And in that moment, we will realize, too, that she has found the strength to walk her own path, against the grain of the allures that pull so many of her contemporaries in the opposite direction.

It is appropriate, then, that the film – like many examples of great literature – begins in medias res, “in the midst of things.” For in doing so, we come to experience the torment and confusion of a world robbed of any sense and, like the protagonist, are placed in the position of having to wrest a semblance of meaning from the confusion that surrounds her. This is, after all, the world within which we live, caught between the torment of private hauntings and the seeming incoherence of the world at large, groping and grappling toward a future where that is no longer the case.

Should one succeed in that battle, as we are witness to in this story, it’s nothing short of Grace.
.

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~ by mistified on December 13, 2009.

11 Responses to “Jennifer’s Body: A Closer Look”

  1. the movie was about jennifer being insecure and seeing how needy is perfectly happy with her life jennifer wants to have it.(when collin asked jennifer out she said no until needy said “i think he’s pretty cool” jennifer stares at needy’s mouth for a second then agrees to go out with collin) jeenifer wants to be like needy she wants everything that needy has.

    • Thanks for your observation! I hadn’t noticed Jennifer looking at Needy like that.

      If the two of them form a binary system – Needy as the persona/shell and Jennifer as her libido – then that look makes sense. There’s nothing wrong with her libido. The question is how it’s triggered. Each of the boys that Jennifer “kills” are ones that drew Needy’s attention, even desire, each a lonely figure: Ahmet at the club, the football player bawling next to her in class and, of course, Colin Grey. As if it their feelings could (temporarily) feed her hunger. In order to put an end to the cycle, Needy must learn how to fortify herself so libido can be put to a different use, and she does this by meditating, becoming so light, she’s able to levitate in the air and leave her prison.

  2. Love this movie, now even more reading about what it really means.

  3. Jennifer seem to be causious of their secret revealed by Needy to others close to her heart thats why she kept attacking them. Needy plays a very impressive role of a true trustworthy friend but when friends or loveones get out of control and we see we can’t solve it, we need to look for help before its late. Secrets hidden in you may cost many others’ lives and even ur loveone’s

  4. Joseph, the answer to your question is: No!

  5. Whose Question?

  6. is there going to be a second movie for this

  7. wow, so much verbiage in your review. you need to learn to be succinct. was annoying to read. also jennifer doesn’t even live alone and wasn’t when needy came to kill her.

  8. i can’t believe why nobody can understand the movie it’s pretty obvious that it is related to problems that youth have about sexual stuff and the fact that some people find it evil and bad which usually are from religious families and the other group that finds it cool and tries to use sexual encounters to get whatever he/she wants! literally all the victims are in relation with needy not jennifer! in fact none of the satanic rituals happened but needy creates those reasons for herself to get rid of people who she doesn’t love or people that she can’t share jennifer with even her own BF! Do you remember the scene when jennifer comes to needy’s house after she left her to go with low shoulder band? needy sees her in an evil way or thinks that something evil have happened to her(because she still wants to see her virgin and knows but can’t accept that she is no longer a virgin)! As a proof to my understandment of the film,think about this when jennifer is still in shock after the guy from low shoulder band comes and gives her alcohol to drink and then takes her to his band’s van and couple of minutes after that when jennifer comes back to needy’s house she spits blood or some kind of evil thing but in fact that’s alcohol not blood or anything else! and this is because needy is part of group which finds premature sex and drugs and all kinds of things evil if you don’t believe me yet go watch the scene where needy is having breakfast with her mother(she has obviously grown up in a religious family).

  9. And let me notify about couple of little things when needy is thrown in the room at the prison you can see big cross on the floor and then when jennifer has returned to her house when she tries to call someone jennifer prevents her and pins her to the wall and then asks her if she is scared and kisses he r in the neck which leaves a cross on her neck!

  10. This was brilliant thank you!!
    👏👏

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