'Into the Dark: Pure's McKaley Miller says Daughter's Day-themed episode 'empowering for young girls learning to speak their minds'
Hulu's monthly anthology horror series, 'Into the Dark,' is set to air its last and twelfth feature-length episode, called 'Pure'. Like every month's theme, this time the festival the plot will spin its horrifying yet satirical take on is Daughter's Day.
Several teen girls go for a purity retreat with their fathers and hell breaks loose when four of the girls invoke the spirit of Lilith, the demon Queen. Soon it becomes a question of what is the biggest element of horror here: the invoked dark spirit, or the intense pressure of living up to their father's abnormal expectations. Amidst all this commotion is a hilarious story of society imposing the need for abstinence on women, stressing all the hellfire unmarried sex would bring to their existence, with McKaley Miller's Jo proving to be the fierce catalyst instigating the rebellion against purity.
It is equal parts terrifying and funny how authentic the story's message is, but at the same time, Miller believes it couldn't be more empowering for young, impressionable minds.
Jo and Shay are half-sisters, with their dad having just learned about Shay's existence. The obvious sibling rivalry is intensified with how easygoing Shay seems, as opposed to Jo's staunch rebellion against all things authoritative. Jo is a Lilith worshipper, of course, and despite having been attending the retreat for 12 years now, she is the one to plan the whole invoking of Lilith. Shay is more of the subtle, shy kind, so naturally, her father is able to get along better with her. And even though Jo's envy is her divine sin, Miller can't stop gushing about how impeccable a character like Jo is in today's pop culture.
"The thing I love most about Jo is that she's not afraid to question the system or speak up," Miller shared in an exclusive interview with MEA Worldwide. "Shay is more 'go with the flow' and doesn't want to upset anyone, but Jo is the polar opposite. That's something I love about her- she's feisty!"
But all that sibling rivalry aside there is no particular reason for Jo to be so hostile towards Shay, who wants to make an effort into making her newfound father happy. Miller, however, remarks that Jo's problem isn't Shay at all, it runs much deeper and closer to home than that.
"Jo and Shay have quite the history, even though they have only recently been introduced into each other's lives. Jo's main issue with Shay isn't even with Shay at all - it's with their dad. I think Jo struggles with getting her father's attention and approval, and once Shay comes into the picture, all he can focus on is Shay. She basically takes everything Jo has ever wanted from her dad away from her," Miller says.
So Jo does what any teenage girl would do, and rebels against her dad thinking her tough love is going to earn his love back. Rebellious and as out there as she might seem, Miller says that's not the case. The story they have played out on the screen has more to do with equality of choices than women acting out with brazen abandon for rules imposed upon them.
"The choices these girls make throughout the film have nothing to do with wanting to be 'rebellious' or 'scandalous,'" says Miller, adding: "I think the conversation about sex throughout the film is there to further the message that women should be allowed and encouraged to make their own decisions regarding their own bodies and beliefs, and that it's a very personal choice. At its core, it's a story about empowering women and follows these young girls who are learning to speak their minds, even if it doesn't line up with what they've been raised to think. I hope viewers can cheer on the girls throughout this film, and hopefully get a little spooked while they're at it."
An overall deeply empowering essence aside, 'Pure' coming from Blumhouse Productions is an intricately crafted horror - which also was a big win for the horror fanatic that Miller is. "What attracts me most to roles like this is the full range you get to explore with a character in this genre," says the actress who has starred in Octavia Spencer's latest horror flick 'Ma', and also been on 'Scream Queens'.
"I feel like horror movies have the most ups and downs and experiencing that rollercoaster as your character is so special; it definitely keeps things exciting while shooting. And as a fan, I love the unpredictability of horror movies. The jump-scares are the best, especially in a big audience!"
Gearing up for the release of a hush-hush Indie film of her that's about to hit the festivals real soon, Miller was all praises for Blumhouse too, sharing: "I have been a massive Blumhouse fan for years, so the fact that I've gotten to be a part of something they've created is unreal. Blumhouse continues to take everything you know about horror and turn it completely on its head. They changed the horror game with 'Paranormal Activity', and again with 'Get Out', and I can't wait to see what they throw at us fans next!"
'Into the Dark: Pure' premieres this Friday, September 6, only on Hulu.