Jenna Ortega: A New Scream Queen Rises

Diving into the SCREAM star's past, present, and future within the horror genre.

By Noah Levine · @ZProductionz · February 17, 2022, 9:00 AM PST
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X (2022)

Coming off of a superb performance in Radio Silence’s Scream sequel, actress Jenna Ortega is showing no signs of leaving the realm of the horror genre with her upcoming projects. Let’s take a deep dive into Ortega’s past and present with the macabre.

In 2013, Jenna made a small appearance in Blumhouse’s Insidious: Chapter 2, a follow-up to the wonderfully chilling first film. Chapter 2 follows the Lambert family once again in another fearful battle against the spirit world. Jenna appears at the end of the film as a young girl named Annie. During a visit from paranormal investigators at her family’s home, Annie is the only one able to see the spiritual form of Lin Shaye’s Elise Rainier character. Insidious: Chapter 2 is available to stream on Netflix in the U.S.

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That same year, a young Ortega popped up in two episodes of Nickelodeon’s Deadtime Stories mini-series. Each episode featured a unique scary tale from a Babysitter character (Jennifer Stone). Jenna showed up in the segments entitled “Invasion of the Appleheads” and “Ghost Knight” in the unnamed role of “Little Girl.” In “Appleheads,” a duo of children explore an apple orchard that is said to be cursed by witches. “Ghost Knight” focuses on…uh, well, a ghost knight.

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Fast-forward to 2018, where Ortega popped up in the sophomore season of Netflix’s psychological thriller series You. The actress played the character of Ellie Alves, a 15-year old living in the same apartment building as the lead character Joe. Alves interns for a comedian, eventually leading her to a terrifying predicament. You is known for its chilling lead performance and twisted characters.

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Two years later, Ortega landed a starring role in The Babysitter: Killer Queen, a follow-up to the Samara Weaving Netflix slasher The Babysitter directed by McG. In the role of Phoebe, Ortega stars alongside lead Cole (Juda Lewis). Without spoiling too much, let’s just say Cole and Phoebe form a strong relationship, but at what cost? While the role of Phoebe was the first time Jenna Ortega wore the slasher scream queen crown, it certainly wouldn’t be her last. This zany bloodbath features many of the returning cast alongside a few surprises…

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Jenna’s next big horror outing would be the recent Scream which smashed box office records and scored a sequel. In the role of Tara Carpenter, sister of protagonist Sam (Melissa Barrera), Ortega wowed with her terrifying acting chops. As those who have seen the film know, Tara is frequently subject to extreme physical pain, and Ortega takes said fictional pain and absolutely sells the hell out of it.

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What’s next for Jenna Ortega in the horror world? Well, first up comes Studio 666, featuring the band Foo Fighters as they try to finish their album in a haunted mansion. Information about Ortega’s role is still relatively unknown, but it’s safe to say she’ll be faced with bloodshed again.

Afterward, Ti West brings X to SXSW in March, which follows a group of filmmakers in 1979 as they head to rural Texas to shoot an adult film. In typical Ti West style, sh*t will certainly hit the fan. X is featured on the newest Fangoria subscriber-exclusive cover so get your hands on it while you can! (Try not to break any fingers in the process, though.) Finally, Jenna Ortega stars as the iconic Wednesday Adams in the brand new Netflix series Wednesday from the one and only Tim Burton. The series is set to follow a young Wednesday as she tries to fit in at an academy and uncover the ghoulish secrets of her family.

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