Melissa Barrera starred as Sam Carpenter in the 2022 big-screen iteration of “Scream,” so she’s no stranger to the horror genre.
That may be so, but Barrera, 32, told The Post that her new movie, “Bed Rest” — now streaming on Tubi — is much more than your typically trope-y horror/psychological thriller.
“Horror movies aren’t my favorite — I love all kinds of genres — but the reason I said yes to this one was that I was on set shooting [a new movie] and they gave me the script and pitched it to me and I was like, ‘If I can work with these people that I already know and love [“Scream” producers James Vanderbilt, William Sherak and Paul Neinstein] that was the first step,” she said.
“And then I read the script and it had me weeping in my trailer. I was crying inconsolably … and I was like, ‘This feels different. Horror movies don’t normally make me feel this way,’” said Barrera, who also co-produced the movie, written and directed by Lori Evans Taylor.
“It’s pushing the boundaries of the genre a bit and it has a lot of heart — and a message, I think, that is important and relevant.”
“Bed Rest” centers on Julie Rivers (Barrera), who’s expecting a baby with her husband, Daniel (Guy Burnet). Upon moving into a roomy, stately and slightly dilapidated country home that’s being renovated, weird and frightening events (always trust the cat who scurries away, frightened) start to occur, but only to Julie — who initially keeps them to herself, even after she is restricted to bed rest after tumbling down a flight of stairs.
We eventually learn that, some time before, Julie and Daniel had a stillborn son, David, triggering in Julie a complete break with reality and a stay in a mental health facility. Now, as she lies in bed day after day, cared for by kindhearted doula Delmy (Edie Inksetter), she continues to see and hear bizarre, eerie sounds and people — including a creepy young boy who repeatedly refers to “baby sister.”
“I love that it takes you on a journey of not knowing who to believe,” Barrera said. “I feel there’s this discourse of women not ever being believed. Women are automatically labeled as hysterical whenever they feel something or talk about anything or when they get emotional about something — and that’s precisely what happens to Julie with the people around her, like, ‘It’s all in your head, you’re having a relapse.’
“The audience members are Team Julie at one point and then, like, ‘Yeah, actually this might all be in her head’ so you join those team of doubters,” she said. “So many mothers who have suffered miscarriages, abortions, stillbirths and losing children know what Julie is going through. It’s not talked about. There’s a line in the movie where Julie says, ‘Women have been carrying the burden of grief for generations’ and that’s so true.
“I want all those women to feel like they’re not crazy for feeling the way they feel.”
Barrera’s next project, not yet officially announced, will be another entry in the horror realm.
“What I love about this genre is that people who like thrillers or horror movies are going to watch [‘Bed Rest’] expecting a certain kind of ride, and I like to surprise people,” she said. “People who tune in, not knowing anything about it, are going to be like, ‘Oh, this is going to be straightforward — and I hope they’re pleasantly surprised by the end and have conversations about it.
“That’s all I can ask for.”
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