Hunter and Prey: A Chat with Two of the Leads of IN A VIOLENT NATURE (Mild Spoilers)

In A Violent Nature hits theaters today and it’s a film I definitely think will go on to be a horror cult classic. Unlike most films in the sub-genre Chris Nash’s ambient Canadian Slasher spends the majority of the runtime following its antagonist Johnny (Ry Barrett), who stalks through the picturesque Canadian forest in grainy 16mm on his way to his next victim, looking for who took his mother’s locket. Part homage, part deconstruction, and part reinvention, Nature is something I can’t wait to get dissected by the larger and push the evolution of the slasher to its next stage. 

Earlier this week I got to chat with two stars of the film, Ry Barrett who plays the film’s hulking slasher Johnny, who we’ve all seen in the film trailer and Andrea Pavlovic who here inherits the mantle of the film’s rather unconventional final girl:

Cinapse: So First off, Congrats on the film. I really dug it. I’m a big horror fan, so I’m definitely its target demo. So I’ll start off with a question for both of you. The film is such a different take on the slasher genre. What was sort of the elevator pitch, if you will, that drew you both into the project?

Andrea: I think exactly that, it’s different. I remember reading the script and it was so much, so much like Johnny walking in the woods and the perspective of being tethered to him. I think it was just exciting to read something different and something new. 

I think reading a script, if it can make me feel something unique, then that’s when I know.

Ry: Yeah, I’m going to piggyback on that too and say like, honestly the same thing. Just getting to spend that time you know, it’s a hangout film with a slasher killer, which we haven’t really seen. We’ve seen it in some other ways. Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon, that film kind of does it, but in a very, very different way, it’s like a documentary with this killer talking to the group, but this is something entirely different and it’s an actual killer that you never get to fully understand or know?

So that was just really exciting for me.


Cinapse: Ry, Johnny has a very distinct stalk and that’s very important when it comes to these films, so what went into crafting that for the film?

Ry: We talked a lot about it ahead of time, about just the movements and and the pace of Johnny. And then a lot of it was, you know, studying classic slasher films and, you know, I’m a huge fan too and I’ve watched a whole bunch of them when I was younger and I revisited ones that I had seen 100 times and then watched a whole bunch that I had somehow slipped through the cracks and I’d never seen. So just, you know, taking elements, never wanting to copy one thing in particular. Kind of taking and amalgamating them into a unique character and then taking outside elements too. 

I watched a lot of animal attack videos to kind of, motivate John’s movements and how he changes so drastically and violently in moments. And yeah, I just kind of piece it all together and make sure that it fits with the design of the film because it is really structured and has to be a certain way.

Cinapse: Was there an animal in particular, or maybe a killer in particular that resonated with your particular take?

Ry: I watched a bear, mainly bear attack videos and like some wolves and large cats and stuff. Like there’s an analogy in the film, but you know, that’s not 100% supposed to be a direct connection, but that was kind of like a starting point. Then as far as the killers, you know, like Jason Voorhees and Michael Myers, specifically Nick Castle as The Shape and Kane Hodder just the way that there’s such distinct portrayals. I mean, there are a lot of others too in the Friday franchise and in a lot of other horror films.

My Bloody Valentine and The Burning, but taking little elements from all that stuff and kind of trying to not copy it, but give the right nods and kind of make it its own thing.

Cinapse: Andrea, we see Kris is put through the wringer emotionally and physically, what kind of preparation did you do for the role? 

Andrea: I think the preparation itself was more just talking with Chris Nash, our director, and figuring out how to make her unique, how to make her different from the typical trope, and how to just bring as much of myself to it as I could. I wish I could tell you I practiced running and screaming, but I didn’t. 

It was kind of just on the day.Really buying into the stakes and the moment, and then just running wild and loose with it and I think that was the most freeing experience I could have asked for as an actor.

Cinapse: As the final girl and the slasher, you play a very cat and mouse game in those final moments of the film, what was that like from a performance perspective from your respective sides?

Andrea: I don’t think we actually did. I think well at the start of it and I’ll let you speak to this Ry, he tried to keep his distance a little bit to create a tension between our characters. But we very quickly became friends.

Ry: Yeah and the other thing too is like we only have so many actual scenes (together, but) they are connected the entire film and get closer and closer, but it is funny. Johnny is kind of always kept at a certain distance from Kris and he never really gets, like the closest he gets I think is the Ranger scene like actually.

Andrea:  Yeah.

Ry: But I mean everything was all kind of designed, Chris kind of you knew everything that was happening there and so we had our scenes, but we were always there’s always a distance.

Andrea: Which was actually quite a blessing, I think to be able to work in that way and I think it really pays off because the whole time, you’re kind of waiting, like will they, won’t they? What’s happening?

Cinapse: Well, that leads perfectly to my next question are you guys hoping for a rematch?

Andrea:  That would be awesome. Who do you think would win? Say me!

Cinapse: I’m sorry. Johnny might win this, but you never know.

Ry: Kris is pretty fast. She can run and you know, innovative. 

Dan:  She is spry, so thank you both again for your time and thanks again for the film!

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