An emerging voice in the filmmaking scene, Jessica Henric, a Miami native with a multi-cultural background, is a rising genre writer and director who brings her passion for storytelling and crafting diverse emotional experiences to the screen. In 2020, Jessica’s first short, “Don’t Let It In,” premiered at the Miami Festival and found acclaim on the festival circuit. The film was praised for its all-native-American cast and partnership with Everett Osceola, the Seminole Tribe of South Florida’s cultural advisor. Jessica splits her time between Los Angeles and Miami.
Q & A
Name a Horror character you relate to on a spiritual/personal level?
Not only am I an avid film lover, but I am also a gamer, and I have been heavily influenced by horror games as well. So not surprisingly, the horror character I relate to most would be Ellie from The Last of Us. Like Ellie, I understand what it means to try to survive when you’re in a situation with little hope and how important it is to keep fighting even if the future seems unsure.
You’ve gotta go through some bad ideas to get to the good ones. Tell us one of your bad ideas. How do you get past the bad ones to find your spark?
I think at the beginning of your career, you can be so eager to get your work out there that you may put out something that isn’t ready or shouldn’t even be seen. I learned that the hard way with one of my earlier scripts, and it set me back a bit. But without that failure, I would have never learned the importance of prewriting, rewriting, and patience when working on a project. Now, I feel a lot more confident about the quality of the work I put out there because of that process.
Do you consider yourself part of a horror community?
Yes, and I’ve been a life-long fan. I know some people get into horror because they think it’s the easiest way to get a film made and financed, but I make horror films because I don’t want to make anything else. It’s genuinely what I’m passionate about.
When you’re building the world of your film, where do you look for inspiration?
Life, in general, can be horrifying, just do one scroll through your newsfeed, and you’ll come across some scary stuff. So, I find a lot of the inspiration comes from these real-life horror stories and human behavior. For me personally, the stories grounded in reality tend to be the scariest. I think that’s why over the years, films like Amityville Horror, Halloween, Poltergeist have lived far beyond their expiration date because all those films felt real like it could happen to us.
What would you do if you woke up inside of your film?
I’d do exactly what Elena does. I’d fight.
Who would be on your ultimate horror villain squad?
Freddy, Spike from Gremlins, Xenomorph, and Predator. Weird mix but it sure would be a lot of fun to watch.
What scares you, and does it inspire your storytelling?
The Supernatural probably scares me more than anything because there’s an element of it that I think we all feel deep down may be true. So, I think that’s why a lot of my work tends to skew more supernatural. I always find what’s unseen to be far scarier than, say, a knife-wielding serial killer. The battle in mind is far more interesting than a physical battle.
And finally, Ghostface would like to know ‘What’s your favorite scary movie?’
As someone who has been consuming horror since childhood, that’s like asking me what’s my favorite child when the reality is I love them all for different reasons. I could almost go by decade, but for simplicity, I’ll stick with my most recent favorite horror movie in the last few years, and that’s Hereditary. It profoundly disturbed me and stayed with me long after the credits rolled, and for a horror film to do that after so many years, it’s unique and a testament to the strength of that film.