Jenna Ortega is bringing back her horror genre with the movie “American Massacre.” Along with the star of “Scream” and “X”, the cast of the film includes Jorge Lendeborg Jr., Allen Maldonado, Bella Ortiz, Jorge Diaz, Humari Morales, Catherine McCafferty, Brett Cullen and Eric Dane.
The action of the game “American Massacre” takes place on an alternative modern day, when the governor of an unspecified state issues a decree on the arrest of all undocumented immigrant children. The plot of the film centers on JP and a group of other young people from Latin America who choose to work in an elderly care facility in the hope of regaining their citizenship, but learn a dark secret that threatens their entire lives.
By the time of the film’s release, Screen Rant had spoken exclusively with star Bella Ortiz to discuss the American Massacre, its horror thriller surprises, the range of the film’s Latin American presentation, and her reservations about its main twist.
Warning: SPOILERS for American Carnage are at the end of this interview.
Screen Rant: I just finished “American Massacre” and it’s very exciting. I was really surprised.
Bella Ortiz: I like to hear that. Sometimes, as a spectator, it seems to me that you already know how things will turn out. I’m rarely surprised, so it’s nice to hear that.
What was it about the film that really attracted you to the desire to become a part of it?
Bella Ortiz: My mom and I, we moved to the States when I was 4 years old from Chile, I actually became a citizen of the United States when I was 17. , but in the horror/thriller/comedy genre.
Before that, I don’t think I really watched or focused on horror movies. It’s a genre that I love so much, and I think because of that I wanted to refrain from doing anything in this world, in this way, and I read it and I got hooked. I thought: “Okay, that’s really cool. It’s fascinating. I’m interested to see where it goes.”
Given that you have a personal connection to this topic, what was it like for you to explore it, regardless of genre?
Bella Ortiz: It was really great. The whole main cast, we were all Hispanic and we had different backgrounds, and I felt like going to work and being on set with people was such a different feeling that even though we were from different places or backgrounds, we had something that connected us together. Especially for a reason that we wanted to draw more attention to, and then also just be able to play and explore this world.
It didn’t always seem so serious, and I think that’s the value of comedy and extremes, because we know what our reality is in our current world, and sometimes it’s hard and tiring. The opportunity to approach it from a different point of view and add levity to it with the help of comedy was very useful.
Since you mentioned comedy and your cast, your mutual understanding is so clearly visible. What was it like to develop this chemistry before the cameras turned on?
Bella Ortiz: I was really nervous because it was actually my first big lead role in a feature film, and I kind of came to it thinking that I wasn’t as experienced as other colleagues on the set. But to be honest, as soon as I came to Spain and met everyone else, all these fears were washed away, and we were able to really communicate in a very natural way. Chemistry and mutual understanding between all of us really arose naturally. It wasn’t something we really needed to work on, we had the same goal and it was a lot of fun.
You and Jorge Lendeborg Jr. spend a lot of screen time together, but was there someone you enjoyed working with the most?
Bella Ortiz: Definitely Mr. Allen Maldonado, 100 percent. [Laughs] He’s such a beautiful person and so funny that I looked at his character a little bit because I thought, “Damn, he has all the good points and pieces,” in terms of bringing that lightness to him. But really, aside from the character, Allen really got into it and embodied it, and just made us laugh so much on set.
There were certain scenes in which I just started going crazy because he was improving something or saying something, and I shouldn’t have had such a reaction. But, in my opinion, I’m like, “It can’t be that someone heard what he would like to say and didn’t burst out laughing.” So I thought: “I am faithful to the reality of what is playing in front of me.”
He always drives me crazy when I see him on screen, so I can’t even imagine what it would be like live. Since you mentioned his improvisation, have you all been given the opportunity to improvise in your scenes, be they dramatic or humorous?
Bella Ortiz: I think a lot of collaboration was allowed in one scene in particular, and I really appreciate that.