Madelaine Petsch, Froy Gutierrez bonded over 'Strangers' scares

Froy Gutierrez and Madelaine Petsch star in "The Strangers -- Chapter 1," opening in theaters Friday. Photo courtesy of Lionsgate
1 of 5 | Froy Gutierrez and Madelaine Petsch star in "The Strangers -- Chapter 1," opening in theaters Friday. Photo courtesy of Lionsgate

NEW YORK, May 17 (UPI) -- Riverdale actress Madelaine Petsch and Teen Wolf alum Froy Gutierrez say they forged a fast friendship while playing terrified lovers stalked by maniacs in the new thriller, The Strangers: Chapter 1.

"He is so easy to have chemistry with. It kind of feels like we were meant to meet and do this together in a weird way," Petsch, who also is a producer on the project, said in a recent Zoom round-table interview with reporters.


"We both came at it with a lot of care. We both had an innate ability to trust each other, which I think was really helpful. The authenticity just kind of came out. Also, I just really genuinely love him as a human, so that made it easy."

Gutierrez said he and Petsch arrived on the film's set ready to "hit the ground running."


"We were both on the same journey," he said. "We were both kind of thrust into it at the same time.

"We hadn't met before. We both really wanted the relationship to feel real and grounded and special and like couples that we know in real life."

Opening in theaters Friday, the Renny Harlin-helmed film is a remake of the 2008 cult classic by the same name. It follows Maya and Ryan as they are terrorized by masked intruders at the remote cabin in the woods at which they are staying after their car breaks down.

As a producer, Petsch took an active leadership role that Gutierrez said also made the production run more smoothly.

"It made it easier to lean in and trust her on some things that weren't really in my jurisdiction," he said.

"I was like, 'You take care of it,' very much like Maya does in the movie. They kind of have their corners and things that they are good at and things that they are not so good at. They know when to switch it off to the other person."

Gutierrez said he is "skittish" by nature and didn't grow up watching scary movies, but believes his work on Teen Wolf and the "spooky-adjacent" Hocus Pocus 2 prepared him for his role on The Strangers.


"Some of the smartest people -- and the people I look up to creatively in my life -- are such avid horror fans," he said.

"I've kind of learned to appreciate the genre and love it more and more through the people I have worked with in my career, and now I am such a horror fan."

Petsch said "running around, screaming and doing crazy [expletive] all the time" on Riverdale helped her prepare for the emotional and physical challenges of fighting for her life in almost every scene of Strangers.

"I've been able to build up my stamina to now be able to carry three films," she added.

"Totally, the shift continues to happen. It becomes a lot more of a character study of a person continuously pushed past their breaking point and being left with whatever version of themselves that they are left with, and also while their mental health is deteriorating at the same time."

Many fans of the original film credit not knowing the killers' motivation for what they find so disturbing about the story.

Petsch hopes these people actually watch her movie and its two planned sequels before making up their minds about which is better.


"Some questions will be answered, of course, to get inside the machinations of 'the strangers,'" she said of her trilogy, which was filmed back-to-back over the course of 52 days.

"But we are not going to lose the innate terror that is so visceral within the original. We are aware of it."

Madelaine Petsch, Froy, Gutierrez attend 'The Strangers: Chapter 1' premiere

Cast member Madelaine Petsch attends the premiere of horror film "The Strangers: Chapter 1" at the Regal LA Live in Los Angeles on May 8, 2024. Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo

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