I Heart Maika
EST 2016 | your ultimate source for all things Maika Monroe
I Heart Maika
EST 2016 | your ultimate source for all things Maika Monroe
Press Archive

At just 21, Maika Monroe seems to be hitting the big time with two consecutive hit film in the cult horror circuit. After taking on Dan Stevens’ psycho-killer in the sci-fi slasher film The Guest, Monroe is once again being pursued in It Follows.

In theaters now, It Follows finds Monroe as the latest target of a mysterious entity that can take on the image of anyone, including those she knows. After its festival premiere at Cannes and the Toronto International Film Festival, It Follows became one of the most buzzed about horror films of 2014. Although it debuted in limited release over a month ago, it continues to be released in more and more, and playing to sold-out crowds – and with the film’s success, Monroe is finding more and more opportunities in Hollywood, including the upcoming sci-fi action film The Fifth Wave (alongside Chloe Grace Moretz), and the coming-of age-drama The Tribes of Palos Verdes, about a surfer…the perfect fit for the former athlete.

Lesley Coffin (TMS): It Follows is being compared to, and references, a lot of classic horror films from the ’80s. Do you have favorites that you drew from for the role?

Maika Monroe: I grew up watching horror movies like Halloween, Nightmare on Elm Street, and The Shining. Those were the movies I loved as a kid. So when I spoke on the phone with [writer/director] David [Robert Mitchell] about his inspirations for the movies, I was excited, because those were a lot of the movies he mentioned being inspired by himself.

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Indie horror movie It Follows has developed quite the following.

David Robert Mitchell’s film about a demonic STD plaguing the teens of southeastern Michigan premiered last year at Cannes, had a limited release on March 13, and is now expanding to 1,200 screens on Friday. While it originally opened in just four locations, It Follows has gone on to become an unsettling must-see for horror fans thanks to widespread critical acclaim and word of mouth.

Maika Monroe’s grueling performance as the film’s main character is one of the highlights of It Follows that folks can’t stop talking about. Monroe, 21, plays teen Jay Height, the newest carrier of a disease or curse that causes a creepy, ever-changing presence to stalk carriers until it kills them or they sexually pass on the creepy plague to someone else.

The sunny California native talked to PEOPLE about the challenges and rewards of being a newly crowned scream queen, and what she does to escape the everyday stressors that “follow” her.

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Horror has a new face – actually, it has lots of new faces – in It Follows, the cracking second film from David Robert Mitchell. Stemming the tide of hack-like horror movies that’s blighted Hollywood for what seems like an eternity now, Mitchell’s eerily beautiful film depicts the plight of a teenage girl, Jay, who is stalked by an evil presence after having sex with a guy while out on a date. This malevolent being, which can be vanquished only if Jay has sex with somebody else, can take any number of human forms – which is a very scary premise indeed, since you’re never quite sure what it is you’re looking out for. But It Follows would be nowhere near as scary without its star, Maika Monroe, who builds on the cooler older-sister charisma of her turn in Adam Wingard’s blackly comic thriller The Guest to anchor the film in a grounded sense of reality, turning the terror dials up to 11 when required. She really goes there, in short – and, says Monroe, filming was no less of an ordeal.

Were you inspired by any horror movie heroines for your performance as Jay?

Maika Monroe: I grew up watching horror movies – shitty ones and good ones – so I’m sure I was influenced by that without me even knowing it, no question. A lot of horror movies being made now I don’t really like. They tend to be really loud and in-your-face, whereas this was a throwback to a more terrifying, psychological type of thriller. I worked with David on what we wanted to create with my role. He wanted a very specific look, like a Hitchcock girl with the bangs going to the side.

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