Movie Reviews

Jane Levy's Horror Roles, Ranked

Jane Levy has made a name for herself as a rising horror icon with only a few genre movies among her credits. Levy’s first major role was on the 2011 sitcom Suburgatory where she played Tessa Altman, the transplanted daughter taken from New York City and stuck in suburban hell. Since her breakout performance, Levy has appeared in a number of independent comedies and horror films, often working with the same director multiple times. Her work on television has also continued to be lauded, with her lead role on Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist nominated for a Golden Globe.

Levy’s most notable movie roles have increasingly been in horror rather than comedies, despite what her television roots would suggest. Since 2013, Levy has starred in three horror films, two of them from another rising horror star, director Fede Álvarez. Just as Levy is capable of driving a scene with her comedic talents, she has also shown how well she can lead a horror story. She’s been a part of an indie, a horror classic remake, and an original scary movie that became a surprise hit. Each showcases a different side of her talents. These are acclaimed movies on their own, but having Levy in the cast increases their quality.

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Office Uprising combines Jane Levy’s talents by putting her in the middle of a workplace horror comedy. Zachary Levi also stars in the movie, which is about an energy drink that ends up turning anyone who tries it into a violent psychopath. It is a formula that has been seen before in movies, like The Belko Experiment, but with a happier ending. Office Uprising comes from a former stunt director, Lin Oeding, and his background allows the many fight and action sequences to be more realistic and clever than other smaller-budget films. Oeding takes advantage of a familiar setting to cram as many visual gags into the movie as possible.

The actors are enjoying themselves with the script, which never takes itself too seriously. At one point Levy, who plays Samantha, the love interest of Brenton Thwaites’s Desmond Brimble, drinks the contagious beverage. To stop her from attacking, a semi-lucid Samantha is strapped to a hand truck. It is a testament to Levy’s applauded talent as a movie and television actor and her growing ability to completely take over a movie that she can lead it without being able to move anything but her head for most of the performance. Office Uprising is a small movie, but Levy proves she’s willing to give a great performance no matter the role.

Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead franchise is highly beloved, so the 2013 remake had high expectations surrounding it. Fede Álvarez managed to make a movie that was not only respectful toward the original but also wasn’t a complete retread. Every installment of the Evil Dead series has gratuitous amounts of blood, but while Raimi plays up the gore for laughs, Álvarez earns his title “king of the reboot” by playing it completely straight. What could have been ridiculous becomes terrifying. The violence in the remake is some of the gnarliest, not only in the Evil Dead franchise but in horror in general, and the over-the-top aspect works for the movie.

Jane Levy stars in the remake as Mia Allen, the Ash Williams replacement and final girl. Mia is a recovering drug addict brought to the cabin to overcome her withdrawal. Her depiction of a recovering heroin user is realistically dark and adds a tense human layer to the 2013 Evil Dead. Like Ash, Mia gets possessed by a Deadite, and Levy plays both the terrifying demonic version of her character and the horrified young woman underneath. As a non-possessed Mia, Levy is appropriately wide-eyed and horrified, but her acting in the scenes as a possessed Deadite is particularly disturbing; her shrieking and convulsions throughout the movie are unsettling and frightening.

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For Fede Álvarez’s second movie — his highest-rated on Rotten Tomatoes (88%) — he again cast Jane Levy in the main role. In Don’t Breathe, she plays Rocky, a small-time thief from Detroit who with her friends is trying to steal enough money to run away to California. When they decide to rob a blind neighbor (Stephen Lang) they get more than they bargained for as he violently defends his home. Don’t Breathe pivots from a heist thriller to a horror movie as Rocky and her friends become trapped. Every noise becomes a point of tension as the teens try to avoid being heard by the blind veteran.

For most of Don’t Breathe, Levy has to act only with her eyes as she stays silent in the face of Stephen Lang’s frightening visually-impaired antagonist. She expresses terror and surprise just by raising her eyebrows, and just like in Evil Dead, she gives an incredibly physical performance, crawling on the ground, jumping over obstacles, and giving herself over fully to the role. When the twist of Don’t Breathe is revealed, the movie’s psychological horror elements are ramped up and Levy’s acting talent shines through in an unsettling and exposing sequence. It’s a multi-faceted performance and one that shows Jane Levy is only getting started in her career.

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