Logan Miller’s no stranger to horror films, and it’s a pleasure to note that he’s also a fan of the genre. And you know the Escape Room star’s serious when he rattles off the names of his favorite makeup FX artists, recalls going all fanboy when he met Jeffrey Combs and how he crossed off the top line on his bucket list when he guest-starred on The Walking Dead.
The 27-year-old actor takes center stage in director Franck (Maniac) Khalfoun’s Prey where he plays Toby, a troubled young man caught in a downward spiral after hoodlums murder his father. To get out of his funk, Toby takes part in an unorthodox (to say the least!) therapy treatment that plops him down on a “deserted” island. But this jungle paradise isn’t so uninhabited after all. A mysterious young woman (Kristine Froseth) turns up, and then a bloodthirsty creature of unknown origin. This latest Blumhouse production opens theatrically and on VOD September 27 from Cinedigm, but Dread Central’s LA followers can see Prey for free this Tuesday night at Hollywood’s Arena Cinelounge. To get tickets, follow the link below.
In the following exclusive interview, Miller talks about his current jungle adventure and his frequent fear-flick forays.
DREAD CENTRAL: Is it a coincidence that you do so many horror films or do you seek them out deliberately?
LOGAN MILLER: I don’t seek them. I try to find new scripts that I enjoy, and I happen to just enjoy the horror genre right now. They keep doing great, great work. And the genre is going through such a great resurgence [right now], so it’s no question I should do some more fun horror at this point.
DC: Are you a fan of the genre?
LM: Oh, absolutely. Yeah. I grew up with so much great horror—John Carpenter, the Friday the 13th series. I loved Evil Dead II, the best in the series. I was fascinated by the amount of special effects that went into Evil Dead II. And I still watch that one today, and I’m blown away by the puppet work and the expansive amount of blood. I am also so grateful I probably wasn’t a part of it because that shit was sticky, I’m sure. I could go on. I love [horror films].
DC: What attracted you to Prey?
LM: Well, they said that we were going to be shooting in the jungles of Malaysia, and so I figured I probably was never going to get that opportunity again. So, I might as well go out and become a jungle man.
DC: Not for nothing, that has to be the craziest therapy treatment ever thought up, being dropped off alone on a secluded island to fend for yourself. What did you think of that? Did that idea have any basis in reality?
LM: I don’t think it’s a very good idea, and this whole movie proves that it’s not a very good idea [laughs]. But to be honest, I know that there are Outward Bound programs out there, but I don’t know if they are this extreme. But if you’re gonna put your disgruntled child in the Outward Bound program, maybe just rethink that and watch this film instead.
DC: What was it like shooting in Malaysia?
LM: It was crazy because we were out in the actual jungle, getting boated to set daily instead of taking normal transportation. We had a bunch of spectators out in the jungles that were monkeys. They were just watching us film like tourists on Hollywood Boulevard. So, that was really interesting. The monkeys stole our craft services as well. And it was so intense. I had to put a thick layer of bug spray all over me every 10 minutes.
DC: You must have discovered a number of insects that you didn’t even know existed before.
LM: Bugs, lesions, and I didn’t know that you could sweat so much out of certain nether regions, for sure.
DC: Your underwater scene looked really hairy. What was it like shooting that?
LM: That was crazy. That was tank stuff. We shot those scenes in a studio out there in Malaysia. Not only did I have to do the takes, but I had to do intense underwater training. All the camera operators worked for National Geographic doing underwater camerawork on the east coast of Malaysia. It was pretty cool to get to hear stories from them.
DC: How about shooting in the jungle at night? How intense did that get?
LM: Yeah, it was crazy, because if you don’t have light, you can’t see shit. And we were dealing with the elements, so we would have to stop shooting for hours on end when it started pouring rain, which it would almost do every other hour. And so, if you plan on shooting in the jungle, make sure that you have another month to do reshoots.
DC: You had reshoots on Prey?
LM: Yeah, we did three weeks of extensive reshoots for this film a year later, actually.
DC: Where was that stuff filmed?
LM: It was shot in California. There were a couple of missing pieces that we weren’t able to completely get in the jungles of Malaysia, and it was just trying to tie together some story plot points.
DC: Much of the monster is kept in the shadows and unseen until the end of the film. Did you like that approach? Other horror movies tend to show more of the monster.
LM: It’s more about Toby’s journey rather than the actual monster itself. So, while that monster is an added element to it, there’s a monster that’s within him as well that he has to deal with before he tries to defeat this monster full-on by the end of the film.
DC: What’s next for you?
LM: We Summon the Darkness is going to Fantastic Fest and another festival here in Los Angeles. It will be released pretty soon. And Escape Room 2 will be starting production very shortly.
DC: So, you’re on board for that?
LM: I survived one room. Why can’t I survive another?
DC: How did you like working with Adam Robitel on Escape Room?
LM: He was great. He’s very detail-oriented. He was someone who could devise all these rooms and the big intricacies of some of these rooms with the riddles and trap doors and everything. It takes somebody who knows how to figure out those very small details, and Adam is the perfect person for it.
DC: What was your experience like on The Walking Dead, playing the ill-fated Kingdom character Benjamin?
LM: Jumping into that family was unbelievable. They know exactly what they’re doing. They are a well-tuned machine, and it shows why that series has been on for as long as it has; because these guys are the best in the business. And, honestly, it was a dream of mine to work with Greg Nicotero too. To get to work with him was pretty amazing.
DC: You had some previous living dead experience with Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse. What do you remember about that one?
LM: Even though that was a different genre of zombie filmmaking, they totally got it right. And I loved working with these great, great people. Tony Gardner was the one who created most of the zombies and [director] Chris Landon really brought a fun, light comedic spin to it. We had Brandon Trost as the DP too. And it was fun funny. They let me improv and just go off, and Cloris Leachman ate my ass in that film, so what could be better?
DC: When you shot Would You Rather, did you get to hang with Jeffrey Combs?
LM: I did. To this day, I’m pretty good friends with that director [David Guy Levy], and even though I didn’t have any scenes with Jeffrey Combs, I would come to set every once in a while, and it was great watching Jeff do his thing. He is a horror legend, so it’s always humbling to see legends at work.
DC: I also liked you in The Stanford Prison Experiment, a really disturbing little movie.
LM: What you see on screen was the exact opposite of what was happening on set because we were having so much fun. We all knew each other [going in], because it’s a pretty small circle when it comes to actors our age. So, it ended up being like a giant sleepover. The fact that we were able to even get done and portray that intense experience on screen is kind of mind-boggling to me. At the end of the day, we were very professional, but there was a lot of fun had in-between.