Jennifer Check is forever a sapphic horror icon

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The horror movies we love today weren’t always appreciated when they came out. Jennifer’s Body (2009) has undoubtedly been discussed to death. Still, it’s crucial to remind folks that it was trashed during its initial release. The film was seen as total garbage that wasn’t worth seeing in theaters. Keep in mind this was primarily from the perspectives of cishet men who expected to see Megan Fox naked. The marketing for the film did a disservice, but that doesn’t matter anymore because it’s now a queer cult classic.

Jennifer’s Body is about a popular girl named Jennifer (Megan Fox) who was offered as a sacrifice by a struggling band. A demon unexpectedly possesses her body and snacks on the boys in town. And the only person who aims to stop Jennifer is her best friend, Needy (Amanda Seyfried). Jennifer and Needy’s relationship is the heart of Jennifer’s Body. Without the disintegration of their relationship and unresolved feelings between them, there are no emotional beats. After all, falling for your best friend is incredibly complicated already. It’s only exponentially more difficult because of the demon situation.

Jennifer Check could easily have been written as a straight girl with no substance. It was the late 2000s and it would have been easier to pander to a certain audience. But Jennifer’s Body doesn’t hold back on how queer it is. Nor does the character of Jennifer shy away from being obvious regarding the fact that she is sapphic. It’s not just about the infamous kiss scene between Jennifer and Needy (something ingrained into our brains as queer fans). Throughout the film, Jennifer uses how appealing she is to lure men in. Meanwhile, she has no genuine interest in them. Jennifer can be read as a lesbian who targets and eats the men who desire her.

Of course there’s nothing wrong with seeing Jennifer as bisexual. Both readings of her character are valid. Megan Fox herself is bisexual, and that certainly lends itself to the performance regardless. Either way, Jennifer is a villainous, depending on how you look at her, sapphic icon in horror and to this day queer people still adore her. Queer characters are allowed to be villainous and chaotic without it being problematic. It becomes problematic when a character’s queerness is what’s villainous about them. In the case of Jennifer, she’s possessed by a demon and is eating boys. So it’s obvious what’s driving her villain arc.

Aside from the deep analysis regarding Jennifer Check and Jennifer’s Body, it’s still a fun (albeit some dialogue hasn’t aged well) queer horror film to throw on during Pride Month. We can celebrate Jennifer as a character and the fact that Megan Fox is openly bisexual. And we can also appreciate the significance the film may have had for us whenever we saw it first. Some sapphic folks may have had their awakening after seeing it in 2009. Imagine a world in which Jennifer Check wasn’t part of the horror canon. I don’t want to.

// Looking for more commentary from Vanessa? Check out this one!