Sharni Vinson is not immune to the creepy trailers for You’re Next.
“There’s something really terrifying about people wearing masks,” says Vinson, 30, who stars in the thriller — opening Friday. “They show no emotion. You don’t know what they’re thinking or feeling.”
A native Australian who danced her butt off in the movie Step Up 3D, Vinson plays Erin, who comes to a big house in the country to meet her boyfriend’s dysfunctional family. When home invaders attack, the body count mounts — and Erin fights back. She talked with the Miami Herald about making the movie.
What makes ‘You’re Next’ different from other horror films?
For many years the horror genre has been dominated by the paranormal aspect, and that has definitely worked. I don’t feel that it’s run its course, but there’s so much more to do by bringing back a more realistic terror. Everybody has been home alone at some point and heard a strange noise in the house and thought, ‘Is somebody in the house?’ We really tackle that realistic aspect of: What would you do if that happened? There’s nothing more terrifying than sitting down to dinner, and an arrow comes through your window, and you don’t know how many people are out there or what they’re doing.
Have you always been a fan of horror movies?
I was one of those children who were allowed to watch horror movies as young as I wanted. I grew up watching the classics: Freddy Krueger, Jaws, It, the Chucky series, Pet Sematary.
Is it scary to watch a horror movie you’re in?
It’s actually really cool. Our director [ Adam Wingard] is a genius. The way he shoots a movie is like no other. He gets in there. He’s in the action from start to finish, and what shots he’s capturing are anybody’s guess. In most studio movies you’re well aware of the shots they’re setting up. So when I watched the movie, I was able to watch it from an audience’s perspective. I was pleasantly surprised.
Was Erin’s physicality part of your attraction to the role?
That’s what drew me to the character. I hadn’t seen a lead female protagonist portrayed in this light. We’re used to seeing females over sexualized, unnecessarily so, so along with the writers we thought it was time we started to break a few of these molds. ... Erin, whether you’re male or female, is a role model in this situation. She’s what everybody hopes they are.
And still — preparing for ‘Step Up 3D’ was probably tougher than playing Erin.
It really was. Our producer Adam Shankman told us early we were going to be put through a serious boot camp. ... He wasn’t kidding. We had five weeks of rehearsal and were given a grueling schedule, 14 hours a day, not just dance rehearsals but hours of weight training and parkour . ... I had to learn a different dialect and speak with an American accent. It presented as many challenges as can be thrown in one film. At the end of five weeks we hadn’t started filming, and I was exhausted already.
Did it help you prepare for ‘You’re Next’?
Absolutely. It’s not even something you realize will help you until you’re in the moment. I was standing on the set thinking, ‘Thank goodness I had that training; it’s going to come in handy.’ ”