The Curse of Bridge Hollow follows Sydney Gordon and her family as they move from New York City to the most haunted house in their new neighborhood of Bridge Hollow. Sydney is more than thrilled to get her spooky on, and she’s eager to join the Paranormal Society at her new school. But if the real Priah Ferguson, who plays Sydney, had to move into a haunted house, she’d be singing “Hit the Road Jack” and hopping on the next bus back to Brooklyn. “I’m not going for that,” Ferguson admits to Tudum ahead of the Halloween film’s Oct. 14 release. “I’d definitely have to move [in] with my grandma or aunt if they made that move.” Ferguson is best known for portraying the quick-witted Erica Sinclair in Stranger Things where she brings the Hellfire Club to its knees as Lady Applejack and combats Vecna in Season 4 of the sci-fi drama. And Bridge Hollow keeps the curses coming. This go-round, Syd’s small town is plagued by the legend of pumpkin Stingy Jack. After Syd accidentally unleashes the ghoul, he brings the town’s Halloween decorations to life to serve as his minions of terror.
The 16-year-old Ferguson first heard of Bridge Hollow immediately after filming the last season of Stranger Things. Her manager shared that the Bridge Hollow team wanted her to come on as Sydney, marking her first leading role in a feature film. She was particularly intrigued after reading the script and learning that Marlon Wayans was attached. Like Sydney, Ferguson has always been a fan of Halloween. She fondly remembers dressing up as R&B singers and going trick-or-treating over the years. She also has some favorite scary films she watches every Halloween season: Child’s Play, Poltergeist, The Exorcist and, “of course,” Scary Movie, which stars her Bridge Hollow co-star Marlon Wayans. While Ferguson never auditioned, which she notes “rarely happens,” she remembers gelling with Wayans instantly at the table read. Director Jeff Wadlow was “over the moon” seeing their chemistry and Ferguson’s ability to deliver such emotional complexity. “We were so excited that she was excited about doing the film. But, as a storyteller, I did have to take a moment and think, ‘OK, what do we want from the role of Sydney?’ ” he told Tudum. “There was certainly a moment of ‘Let’s make sure that this is the right fit,’ because it’s not exactly the same part that she played in Stranger Things.”
At the heart of Sydney’s character arc is trying to grow up while your dad still sees you as his little girl. Wadlow notes that Sydney’s growth comes when she learns to accept that her father loves her. “He’s trying to protect her not because he’s trying to stop her, but because he loves her so much,” he says. “Sydney and I are transitioning from being seen as a young girl into a young lady,” adds Ferguson. She also thinks that Sydney “sounded so cool,” as someone who’s studious, witty and a ballerina turned martial artist. And, yes, Ferguson performed quite a few of her own stunts against Stingy Jack’s maniacal decorations. Ferguson’s own transition from girl to young lady is continuing as she begins her sophomore year of high school this year. Like Sydney in the film, she’s hoping to join some new clubs to further mark her path of independence. “I made the JV cheer squad at my former school, but, unfortunately, I had to change schools,” Ferguson says.
“I’d love to join the yearbook committee and run for a class office. I have some really clever ideas I’d like to introduce to keep our school spirit high.” That spirited attitude will serve her well in a potential Bridge Hollow sequel, which Ferguson wouldn’t mind being a part of, “especially if it’s well written.” But in the meantime, she’ll save her thrills and chills for this year’s Halloween. “I may dress as someone from Winx Club and visit a haunted house with friends.” She’ll just have to see where her Halloween adventures take her on Oct. 31. Hopefully, Stingy Jack won’t be along for the ride.