Tiera Skovbye (L) and Kerri Medders cheer for their lives in "Bring It On: Cheer or Die." Photo courtesy of Syfy
LOS ANGELES, Oct. 7 (UPI) -- Kerri Medders said the new movie, Bring It On: Cheer or Die, premieres Saturday at 9 p.m. EDT on Syfy, challenged her as a horror movie and as a cheerleading movie.
"Halloween and that time, this is my season," Medders, 22, told UPI in a recent Zoom interview. "So it's pretty awesome to be able to be in that realm in this iconic franchise."
Medders plays Abby, a cheerleader who attends an all-night rehearsal with her team. When a killer picks off cheerleaders one by one, Abby has to step up and become the captain.
"I liked the fact that Abby was very underestimated throughout the film until it was time to really become front and center," Medders said. "At the same time, I feel she was very inclusive in making sure everyone felt that they were a team."
By the time the survivors face the killer, they use their cheer routines to fight him off.
"I like to call it a cheer catfight scene," Medders said. "We just incorporated all the moves that we had during cheer camp and then we used them in a fight form."
Director Karen Lam said she was inspired by martial arts films for the cheer fights.
"You always have a special move at the end," Lam said. "With our choreographer, Tony Gonzalez, I kept saying, 'OK, Kung Fu, [we're] making martial arts here."
The original Bring It On, starring Kirsten Dunst, Eliza Dushku and Gabrielle Union, came out in theaters in 2000. Universal has made five more home video sequels.
Lam said she initially had reservations about making a Bring It On horror movie. Lam directed the horror films Evangeline, The Curse of Willow Song and a segment in Shevenge, among other shorts.
After Lam was able to give input into the script, she said, the idea of a fun horror movie appealed to her.
"It was basically giving and paying respects to the original Bring It On franchise," Lam said. "And yet, also making sure it has enough horror in it to hopefully be a good Halloween special."
Lam said that while she was developing the horror side of the film, she would watch her cast practice, and adapted the script to their abilities.
"We wanted the horror to be cheer-based," Lam said. "It wasn't going into full Saw. I'm not trying to make a full-on horror film."
Medders, who had no formal dance training, said she practiced the cheer routines for three weeks before filming and continued during filming.
"I was texting everyone, the cast, and being like, 'So who can run this cheer routine with me in the park?'" Medders said.
Lam said she was impressed by her cast working overtime to learn the cheer routines.
"I would come out even at the end of cheer camp day, and they would still be doing pyramids on the grass," Lam said. "Even though you're technically [working] 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., you were basically 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., from what I could see."
Bring It On: Cheer or Die is also available on DVD, Blu-ray and video on demand.