Horror films provide fans with an adrenaline rush and a fantastic sensation of heightened awareness. That quick heartbeat is definitely set off in writer/director Jeremiah Kipp’s film Slapface, now streaming on Shudder.
Mourning the recent death of his mother, middle school student Lucas (August Maturo, Girl Meets World) spends the majority of his time exploring the woods near the dilapidated house he shares with his older brother Tom (Mike Manning, Son of the South) who takes care of him. Moriah (Mirabelle Lee, The Blacklist) is one of the few people who show Lucas any kindness, but her efforts are overshadowed by her popular friends, twin sisters Donna and Rose (Bianca and Chiara D’Ambrosio, Call me Jane, High Heat) who find great pleasure in bullying Lucas every chance they get.
BGN spoke with Lee via Zoom about playing Moriah in her first horror film.
Are you a fan of horror films?
I love horror films. I used to refuse to watch them because they really scared me. But then my mom got me into them because she is a huge horror fan. One day she took me to a screening of a film and I didn’t realize it was a horror film. As I was watching it, I realized, “Wait, this is really cool.” Ever since I’ve always wanted to be a part of a horror film. I fell in love with the genre, so it was so cool to finally be a part of one.
What attracted you to playing Moriah?
There’s something about Moriah — I just gravitated towards her. I liked her because I almost get to play two characters at once. She is really mean, but she also has a sweet side. I just thought that was so cool. I really wanted to be a part of this project because it was so different from anything I’ve ever done before and I felt it would be a real challenge.
The levels of bullying are key plot points in this film. Tell me more about the dynamic between Moriah and the twins.
The thing about Moriah is she really just wants to fit in. That’s the main reason why she’s friends with Donna and Rose. Donna and Rose are very popular at school. Their family is wealthy, and Moriah wants to be a part of their world. The only time you ever see Moriah be herself is when she’s with Lucas. But the reason why she goes along with the twins bullying Lucas is because she’s afraid of not being liked.
Have you ever had to deal with bullying?
I’ve never dealt with serious bullying like Lucas has. But going into this role I asked people I know who have dealt with bullying and being bullied about their experiences and found out what it was like from them.
How did you enjoy working in this genre?
It was so cool because I usually do comedy or drama. Working in horror actually has a nice mixture of both. It’s really fun seeing all the horror special-effects aspects of it. I loved that we got to scream really loudly for all of the jump scares. And those jumps happened to the actors in real life! On that first take when the monster pops out, that’s my real scream. I’m actually screaming because Lucas [Hassel, who played the monster] was so scary! The special-effects people, wow, they did a great job. So it’s always interesting being able to see how everything is done behind the scenes. I definitely want to do more horror films in the future.
What was the first film that scared you?
The Curse of La Llorona. At first, I was terrified. I was screaming at everything. I had my knees up to my chest. I was holding on to my mom. But just towards the end, I was okay. I wasn’t really that scared anymore. It’s kind of funny my transformation to loving horror because I used to be petrified. But now I’m going to see the scariest horror films I can find, and I don’t even bat an eye. I was with my friends once watching The Shining, and they were all screaming their lungs out. And I’m like, “What are you guys screaming about? It’s not that scary.”
What right now is bringing you the most joy?
I have recently found a love of yoga. I just love it so much. It’s relaxing. It’s calming. It’s a workout, but it’s also meditation. You just breathe and let go. I love doing yoga before bed or in the mornings. It’s amazing. I love it. That’s what that’s keeping me happy right now.
Slapface is now streaming only on AMC Network’s Shudder.
What's Your Reaction?
Jeanine is a Writer, Actor, member SAG/AFTRA, AEA, Podcast host, Producer, CEO VisAbleBlackWoman Productions, Certified Health Coach and Conscious Dance facilitator. Jeanine's mission, centering Black women's stories to preserve our legacies.