Australia has never produced a cinematic “scream queen”, an actress who reigns over screen horror films the way Jamie Leigh Curtis did, back in her “Halloween” days. And Sydney native Sharni Vinson says “It’s about bloody time, then, isn’t it?”
Vinson, 30, as the all-things-horror website FEARnet assures us, is “the breakout star of ‘You’re Next'”, a superior “home invasion” horror film about an extended family in a remote vacation home, assaulted by murderous, masked intruders.
A film that was the object of a bidding war, that has made the rounds in film festivals and sat on the shelf a bit is finally coming out. “About bloody time” Vinson repeats, laughing. We asked her a few questions about how one survives a picked-off, one-by-one situation like the one presented in “You’re Next.”
What sort of life skills you should have in hand to improve your odds?
Vinson: My character comes from a family of survivalists. But after this movie, everybody, especially women, needs to take some sort of self-defense course. Martial arts, whatever. Everybody deserves to feel a degree of confidence that if your home was intruded on, you’d be able to stand up and protect yourself from a hideous situation.
And do it when you’re young!
What’s the best way to cope, quickly, with the of ‘This is REALLY happening’?
Vinson: You do that with confidence. Having trained a bit for a situation like this, you’ll get a huge adrenalin jolt rather than just shaking with fear. Competence creates confidence, so take those classes! The more you know, the better.
What are the first things you’d look for, finding yourself in a situation like this? Weapons, an escape route, a place to hide?
Vinson: Arm yourself. If you’re trying to fight somebody who has a weapon and you don’t, you’re already at a disadvantage. When it comes to figuring out a quick strategy, you have to think where the threat is coming from. The threat, in ‘You’re Next,’ is coming from outside the house, guys with crossbows. Don’t run outside! Lock the windows, the doors. Think before putting yourself in more danger. Assess!
Use reverse psychology. If this is plainly some sort of planned attack, you need to come up with a plan to fight back. Be smarter than they are.
What do you look for in an improvised weapon?
Vinson: When you see it, you’ll know. Anything can be a weapon. It can be heavy or sharp. Women wear rings with sharp edges, and stiletto heels get their name from how sharp the heel is. Even a meat tenderizer can be lethal!
What mistakes do you see people make in movies about this sort of situation that we should all avoid?
Vinson: I love horror movies, and logically, the most frustrating thing in them is that stupid move somebody makes that nobody in their right mind would make. The victim, say, gains the upper hand for just a moment, and fails to do enough damage to the killer to put them out of action. That’s why, in ‘You’re Next,’ if my character gets somebody down, she makes sure they STAY down. He ain’t NEVER coming back.
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