Maika Monroe has been making waves in the horror scene since 2014’s It Follows, a movie that earned significant acclaim given its footing as an indie release. Having said that, the 26 year old’s standing still remains criminally underrated. Despite making a name for herself in mainstream cinema, with appearances in blockbusters like Independence Day: Resurgence, Monroe’s defining moments have shone through in her honing of the horror craft. Take a dive through our list as we make our case that Jamie Lee Curtis’s reign as our culture’s resident scream queen is officially over.
1. It Follows (2014)
Before there was Stranger Things, synth, sci-fi and supernatural forces were compressed within It Follows. The film catapulted itself into the hall of classics on merit alone, artistically telling the story of a young girl being stalked by a person – any person – relentlessly coming towards her to deal her a cruel fate. Despite its walking pace, the force intends to be fatal, culminating in a powerfully traumatising watch formative to Monroe’s horror icon status.
2. Villains (2019)
There’s only one match for the queen of horror, and that’s the king. Bill Skarsgård, known as the beloved Pennywise of It significance, plays Monroe’s significant other in a True Romance style relationship. After the Bonnie and Clyde couple rob a store, they end up in a house owned by a husband and wife that have a young girl chained up in the basement. In an effort to save the girl, which becomes more important to them than stealing a getaway car, the two become trapped in an even more dangerous game.
3. Tau (2018)
There are times when Tau is brutally violent, where people are sprawled across the floor and their blood is cleaned up by a cluster of droids. And then there are other times where it’s existentially significant; exploring what it means to be a person and the magnitude of artificial intelligence in our society. Maika Monroe masterfully engages with the technology Tau voiced by Gary Oldman in her kidnapper’s environment, in a movie that only becomes more and more relevant as our lives are digitally transformed.
4. Greta (2018)
While Chloë Grace Moretz has a healthy portfolio of horror features in her own right, her role in Greta is less of a badass and more of a victim (also see her childhood appearance in The Amityville Horror). Picture Moretz suffering on stage left when in enters Monroe, playing her only friend, to save the day. If Moretz wasn’t rescued by the far more savvy Monroe, this list might even be about her, with her notable leads in the less well-received Let Me In and Carrie.
5. How To Be Alone (2019)
Featuring Joe Keery, also known as everyone’s favourite hair stylist from Stranger Things, How To Be Alone spans across surviving a really fucked night on your own. As Monroe’s real-life partner and film-world husband leaves for the evening shift, shit begins to get bent, with a turn of events that’s a little horrifying and a lot thrilling. The good news about this is that it’s a short film, but you’ll soon learn that the bad news is that it’s not longer.
Notable mentions: The Guest (2014), The 5th Wave (2016), Bokeh (2017) and Monroe’s not scary but incredible co-star on Hot Summer Nights (2017) with Timothee Chalamet.