Exclusive: Brooke Markham Talks Friend Request and the Addiction of Social Media


Social media-themed horror is definitely a thing. In Friend Request, the latest in a slew, student Laura (Alycia Debnam-Carey) accepts a ping from maudlin Marina (Liesl Ahlers), a loner she barely knows. It turns out to be not the best decision — Laura’s admirer one-ups the Single White Female thing and goes from obsessive cyber-stalker to virtual vengeful ghost in the blink of an eye.

We caught up with one of the actresses from the film, Brooke Markham, who gave us a little insight into this modern horror story and what it was like to make it.

Friend Request

DC: Tell us a bit about how you fit into the world of Friend Request.

Brooke Markham: I play the character of Isabel, and the movie itself centers around really our lead actress, Alycia Debnam-Carey, who plays Laura. I play one of her best friends; Laura has two best girlfriends, and I play one of them. And we are part of a bigger group of best friends in college. Laura’s a really well-loved girl by everyone and very popular…. obviously very popular in social media – because the film has a very big social media angle… a new girl comes to school, Marina, who is a bit of an outcast, a bit odd; but Laura, being so nice, obviously welcomes her in. They start becoming friends on Facebook and she tries to introduce her to our friendship group, but it starts to get a little bit too close, too fast, which is a bit off-putting to my character, Laura, and all her friends. And the obsession really spirals quite quickly into an altercation between Laura and Marina which I witness, which the other friends witness, and Laura decides that she needs to delete Marina off of her social media because it’s getting a bit too much. And my character, Isabel, is obviously an advocate of that. So when that happens, it all goes a bit dark and Marina continues to stalk Laura and her friends but in more of a demonic sort of way I guess you could say. It gets pretty dark, and I think Marina’s main intention is to make Laura as lonely as she is. Which for me, my character, Isabel, is not a very good thing and probably Laura’s other friends in the film as well, which we quickly start to realize.

DC: Most horror movies centering on a group of friends have the basic “types” – like the easy girl, the smart girl, the sporty girl… which one is Isabel?

BM: I guess she’s like a sweetheart; she’s kind of really direct – I would say both of Laura’s best friends are really direct at being like, “What are you doing hanging out with this chick?” So they’re kind of like the words of truth, I guess. Isabel kind of feels like me I think… so she doesn’t really put it like she’s the sporty girl or the stuck-up girl; I think it’s just a real, authentic representation of what friends are like. So I think with authenticity it doesn’t really fall into those stereotypes, as a matter of fact.

DC: Tell us a bit about working with Simon Verhoeven, the director.

BM: I loved working with Simon. [He] and I got along really well. When I was cast, the process was really quick. I was living in London at the time because I went to school over there and I had just flown to LA – I have to think because this was about four years ago, we shot the film quite a while ago – so I’m pretty sure I was in LA for only like a week. So I was introduced to him by our casting director… I met her and I think that same day maybe I met Simon. Then I came back one more time. Simon is really cool, he’s very calm, he’s funny. We got along really well – he’s good, exactly like an actor’s director – kind of allows you to find your rhythm in the scene yourself and gives you a couple of guidelines. He not very micro-managey. I think he’s really good at seeing where the scene is going naturally and then just kind of holds the space for that and continues to grow with the scene, which is great because it then allows for more authentic moments.

DC: What are some of your favorite scary moments from the movie?

BM: There’s a scene that takes place… a couple of things that take place in a hospital, but there’s one scene in particular that takes place in the hospital where you think the character has already died but then you see that they haven’t… but they view the hospital in quite an intense way – I really like that scene – but it’s not my death scene. My death scene also takes place in the hospital, but that’s not mine, it’s the other one. And I think that one was really good because in the film we kind of – before we all die, we enter a state that isn’t necessarily ourselves, and I think that factor is done really, really well. It’s really interesting. In my opinion, the one that hits me the most, like the most gruesome, because of the state this actor’s character enters into, I think that’s my favourite one. It’s really gruesome. It’s really shocking – I thought, “Oh, my god!”

DC: Did being in this movie make you look at social media any differently?

BM: I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with social media to be quite honest. I think it can be very addicting, and that’s pretty scary. It’s like this different language that we’ve all adopted. Whoever said “meme” before a few years ago? People live on the internet, it’s like a second identity. And social media irks me because what you see, like a friend’s pic on Instagram that’s a picture that’s all fabricated, it’s not real but we think it’s real – it’s becoming like another reality for us. I’m me as Brooke, in my life, my day-to-day life, when I’m with my friends, my family, when I’m talking to you… I like to think that social media can be authentic but there’s a different version of me that people will portray, like oh, THAT Brooke on her Instagram or something like that. But that’s not… those are maybe just the nice moments in my life. Nobody posts things of like when at two in the morning they’re sobbing… the mundane things in life. Even before this film I was not as open on social media because I’m a little bit more of a private person I would say.

The film is in theaters NOW!

Directed by Simon Verhoeven, Friend Request (review) stars Alycia Debnam-Carey (“Fear the Walking Dead”), Brit Morgan, William Moseley, Brooke Markham, and Connor Paolo. It was penned by Verhoeven with Matthew Ballen and Philip Koch.

Popular college student Laura (Alycia Debnam-Carey) has tons of friends, both on Facebook and IRL. She graciously accepts social outcast Marina’s (Liesl Ahlers) online friend request, until Marina crosses the line and Laura unfriends her. To everyone’s shock, Marina takes her own life in a ritual meant to torment Laura, which appears in a video posted on Laura’s profile. Even though it wasn’t Laura who posted the video, or other creepy content that begins appearing on her page, her Facebook friend count begins to dwindle as a result. When her real-life friends start dying mysterious, cruel deaths, Laura must figure out how to break the deadly curse before it’s too late.

Friend Request



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