Every horror movie worth its screams needs a good ingenue (call it the "Janet Leigh Effect"), and The Gallows is no different. The first big scare of the summer comes with this next effort in the trend of "found footage" films. Gallows tells the story of a group of teens who take up the dubious project of recreating an ill-fated school play during which a young actor was killed in a freak accident on stage over two decades before. Cassidy Spilker is the unrequited love object of Reese Houser, the boy who's playing the same role as the one who lost his life back in 1993. The goal of putting on the play is to get the girl (isn't it always?), so it's Cassidy who indirectly sets the terrifying events of the movie in motion. But who plays Cassidy, the star of The Gallows?
It's 21-year-old Cassidy Gifford who takes on the role of the teen heartbreaker, and as the movie shows, she's well up to the task of all the screeching, crying, and extreme close-ups required of most horror films in a post-Paranormal Activity world. While this is the actress' first starring role, she's quite familiar with the industry in general. Here are six things that you need to know about up-and-comer Cassidy Gifford.
1. She's The Daughter Of Kathie Lee And Frank Gifford
Even before she jumped in front of the camera herself, Gifford was a presence in pop culture. Her mom, TV host Kathie Lee Gifford, would regale her Live With Regis & Kathie Lee audiences with tales of her daughter and son Cody with ex-husband, sportscaster Frank. So Cassidy practically grew up in the spotlight!
2. Kendell And Kylie Jenner Call Her Their "God-Sister"
Kris Jenner is besties with Cassidy's mom Kathie Lee, so the budding actress also grew up alongside the Jenner-Kardashians. Kylie even came out to support her extended family at The Gallows premiere, looking fierce in black and white.
3. She's Got A Super Handsome Boyfriend
Cassidy Gifford is dating student and football player Addison Pierce, and adorably normal photos of them litter her Instagram page. Seriously, you could fill a whole American Eagle catalog with these two.
4. She Got Her Start In The Disney Channel Golden Age
A young Gifford appeared once on That's So Raven and alongside her mom in this model-themed episode of The Suite Life On Deck. If only she'd booked a part in Even Stevens, she'd have had the '00s Disney trifecta.
5. Her Mom Gave Out Her Number On National Television
Kathie Lee accidentally blew up her daughter's spot on Today by flashing her ringing phone to the camera. Cassidy told People, "All of a sudden I had hundreds of creepy texts...Like, 'Really, Mom?'"
6. She Doesn't Believe In Ghosts, But Admits The Gallows Set Might Have Been Haunted
A little real-life haunting can add some caché to a scary movie. In this clip, Gifford tells MTV that weird, unexplainable things were happening on location. Perhaps a real Hangman on the loose, keeping the crew on their toes?
See Cassidy Gifford show her stuff in The Gallows and look for big things from this show business legacy!
Image: Getty Images