For every scream queen crowned, there's a few more who never quite reached that status or never got the credit they deserve but still appeal to horror fans, whether it was for a great performance or having a certain relatability/likability. In honor of Women In Horror Month (first mentioned by queen hjalmartazar), let's take a look at several underrated characters and overlooked actresses in horror. There are SPOILERS inside!
The Descent itself is by no means underrated. It's widely regarded as one of the scariest horror movies of the late 00's due to its claustrophobic scenes and intensity. The main character, Sarah (played by Shauna MacDonald) is the most vulnerable of the group due to grief from losing her family. She, however, turns it the fuck out and is the sole survivor (at least till the end of the first...in the second movie, we learn Juno did survive) by being smart and resilient.
Juno is a complex character. Some, like myself, were not crazy she had an affair with Sarah's husband and kinda was the reason they got stuck in the damn place due to her selfish adrenaline junkie ways. To be fair, it wasn't her fault the cave was home to
Aaliyah (bless her soul and R.I.P) starred in this movie before her tragic death in 2001. The director deserves major props for not whitewashing this role and told Vibe magazine, "There were two factors for casting Aaliyah. I was very keen that Akasha, an Egyptian queen, not look like Elizabeth Taylor,” the director recalls, shading Cleopatra.
Akasha is voracious, gorgeous, sinister, and totally evil. If only we had gotten to see more of Aaliya's talent as she was set to star in Honey, which then went to Jessica Alba. Oy.
This movie was not great and is a typical product of sequel cash-grab. One of the characters that stood out was a goth girl, Kim, that a lot of us probably wanted to be, or at least be friends with in school. Kim Director, the actress playing her, said in an interview that the film had a lot of points going against it already before its debut and the marketing
was not there.
Jennifer Carpenter is no stranger to being overlooked, as she played Deb in Dexter for years and never got one Emmy nod. Here in this movie she horrifies the viewer with convincing and intense scenes of possession. So good that one producer said that people on set nervously joked to each other that she really was possessed.
Jada Pinkett-Smith and Sarah Michelle Gellar are able to pack in a lot in very little screen time, delivering realistic dialogue that the viewer would say in the theater jokingly and a death scene that was hard to watch. Following the format of the first, Jada is the big name star who dies in the beginning, and she made a specific request to the director that she wanted to die in the most gruesome, drawn-out way. She brought it. Her death scene was really sympathetic as it was in plain view and no one helped her.
Maureen also gave us the iconic Brenda Meeks in the spoof Scary Movie.
Sarah Michelle Gellar gets praise nowadays for the iconic chase scene in I Know What You Did Last Summer but her performance here goes under the radar. SMG delivers, playing a victim getting a call from Ghostface who she thinks is her ill-conceived boyfriend, Ted. SMG never gets credit for her versatility in performances where she is the heroine (Buffy) or the victim like in Scream 2.
Cici's death scene was done by invisible cables lifting up Sarah onto the balcony and then playing it back for the illusion she was thrown off of it by Ghostface.
Though Jennifer's Body is getting belated acclaim for being ahead of its time, Megan Fox is glanced over with a quotable and perfect-fit performance that Diablo Cody said was their first casting choice. Fox embodies the role of the popular alpha girl at school, but still manages to invoke sympathy from the viewer when she is victimized by the band carrying out a satanic sacrifice and her inevitable demise at the end.
This movie terrifies with torture scenes, but Eihi adds a little disturbing quality with a "hehe" demeanor and is very calm and calculated. The character is a product of how an abused person learns to love the abuse and inflicts it onto others.
Done completely on improv, Salma wows in this scene and is easily one of the most memorable parts of the whole movie. Madonna was actually going to do this if Salma had turned it down due to her fear of snakes.
Sources: 1 2 3 4 5 6 and me