Megan Fox has some ideas as to why her feminist horror-comedy Jennifer's Body (2009) failed with critics and audiences but maintains its cult classic status. The actress spoke with the director and host Eli Roth for his "History of Horror: Uncut" podcast to discuss the film. "It's a nice circle," Fox said. "I didn't expect it to grow like that. But to see it being appreciated now, obviously makes me feel really good. I'm happy for [writer] Diablo [Cody], and I'm happy for [director] Karyn [Kusama] — all these people put in a lot of hard work into making a really quality project that was panned for reasons that had nothing to do with them," she said. "A lot of it was just about my image at the time and who I was in the media at the time and the backlash to that. The movie never really stood a chance."
Jennifer's Body follows a high schooler who is possessed and turned to a succubus following a demonic sacrificial ritual. She feasts on her male classmates, and it's up to her best friend Needy (Amanda Seyfried) to stop her. The film's release came on the heels of her success in the first two Transformers films in 2007 and 2009's Revenge of the Fallen. "I was being vilified a little bit when the movie was getting ready for its release, it was that interesting juxtaposition to shooting up to extreme heights of fame right before the movie was released and then … the tearing me down was starting to happen," Fox said. "Then I had this immediate fallout with someone I worked in the industry. That happened right when I was on the press tour for 'Jennifer's Body.' I think it all sort of exploded at once," she said. "I think people definitely viewed me as negative or having bad intentions or just being really shallow and selfish if it could be reduced and simplified even to that."
Cody's script was meant to be a commentary on girl-on-girl hatred, sexuality, the death of innocence, and politics. The marketing from 20th Century Fox instead shifted to the star's image as a sex symbol and made it a suggestive romp, which undermined the film's message. During the time of the releases of Jennifer's Body and Revenge of the Fallen, Fox once compared Transformers director Michael Bay to Napoleon and Hitler, which allegedly led to her firing from the franchise. She said the experience from the fallout out confirms the misogyny she had to deal with and the difficulties she had to endure as a teenage girl.
In the 11 years since Jennifer's Body, Fox talked about the newfound appreciation as fans came around to the film's themes. "Being a teenage girl is a very difficult thing to be," she continued. "How other girls interact with you in school or the expectations that are being put on you by the outside world and by the media, and the things we see advertised and how we're supposed to look, it's so much pressure. I think somewhere inside of every girl they can relate to this idea of feeling like 'My power has been taken away from me and what would I do if I got all of that power and then some back.' I imagine that's one of the things that they relate to: That vicarious letting lose, what's referred to in our hippie circles as 'the inner wild woman,' 'the inner wild witch' that we all have. That is an archetype."