Self-confessed horror buff Sydney Sweeney on what it feels like to be the genre’s new final girl, and which OG scream queens inspire her


Confirmed horror head Sydney Sweeney never expected to become this generation’s new scream queen, but she may well be after her performance in new movie Immaculate, which she says was influenced by the genre's original final girls.

"I mean, I've always been a fan of the OG final girl Jamie Lee Curtis," Sweeney tells GamesRadar+. "I truly think that John Carpenter and Jamie [on Halloween] kind of submitted the term final girl, like, it existed beforehand, but then they just really nailed it in and everyone was like, we’ve got to do that."

Although Sweeney may have been inspired by Curtis as far as final girl status goes, the actor says her character Cecilia is very different, as rather than fighting CGI monsters or serial killers, in Immaculate "a lot of the fear and a lot of the most horrific scares are all grounded in reality."

The film follows American nun Cecilia as she moves to Italy to join a convent only to become pregnant via immaculate conception, but this is not a holy miracle as she soon discovers something sinister is at play. Sweeney explains: "In a lot of horror films, the character tries to run away and escape whatever is terrorizing and haunting that person, but for Cecilia, the scariest thing is growing inside her and she can't escape it."

The Madame Web star’s wild performance has critics calling her this generation's new scream queen in first reactions to the movie, something that director Michael Mohan has believed in all along. "I saw an opportunity to really build a character with Sydney that had this vast arc where she starts at such a meek and mild-mannered character," says Mohan to GamesRadar+, "and then by the end, she turns into this absolute beast, raging young woman, sort of fighting the patriarchy, and so I just knew that this was going to be incredible with her in the lead."

However, all of this admiration for Sweeney has left us wondering, will the star be receiving any awards for this? It’s a nice thought but, as we know, horror usually gets snubbed at award ceremonies. However, recent discourse is asking for the genre to finally get some more recognition.

Sweeney has her own opinion on the matter: "Oh, I would love to see that. I mean, actors put themselves through such crazy transformations and elements and experiences in horror films," said the Euphoria star, mentioning films such as Barbarian, Midsommar, and Us. "There are so many brilliant pieces of art and actors that are bringing these characters to life, and I definitely believe that they should get some recognition."

Immaculate hits US and UK theaters on March 22. For more, check out our list of the best horror movies, or keep up to date with upcoming horror movies heading your way this year.