Bring it On: Cheer or Die interview: Director Karen Lam and star Kerri Medders chat horror icons, scream queens, and more

BRING IT ON: CHEER OR DIE -- Pictured: (l-r) Kerri Medders as Abby, Sierra Holder as Jackie -- (Photo by: David Bukach/SYFY)
BRING IT ON: CHEER OR DIE -- Pictured: (l-r) Kerri Medders as Abby, Sierra Holder as Jackie -- (Photo by: David Bukach/SYFY) /

Bring it On: Cheer or Die is the spin-off we didn’t know we needed. The movie dropped on the SYFY network on Saturday, Oct. 8, helping us all kick off the Halloween seasonCheer or Die has it all, comedy, thrills, and who doesn’t love a fun whodunnit mystery?

The movie follows Abby (Kerri Medders) and McKayla (Tiera Skovbye), co-captains of the Diablos cheer squad. The team is not allowed to do anything too risky after a horrible tragedy that took place two decades ago. Wanting to come up with a winning routine, the cheerleaders decide to practice at an abandoned school so staff won’t know what they are up to. What they don’t know, is that a killer is also at the school and the mysterious killer is determined to get them one by one.

Hidden Remote caught up with film director Karen Lam (who is also known for Evangeline, The Curse of Willow Song, and other horror movies) and Cheer or Die star Kerri Medders (Promised Land, SEAL Team) to chat about all things horror!From the original Bring It On to Karen and Kerri’s favorite horror icons, read our full interview, below:

*The following interview has been edited for clarity and length. 

Hidden Remote: Karen, from which horror classics did you pull inspiration from? What were your favorite movies growing up?

Karen Lam: For Bring It On: Cheer or Die, I was pulling from a lot of 80s films as well as my favorite teen movies growing up. There are references to Goonies, Saw, Halloween, as well as to classics like Psycho. There are also internal references to The Graduate, John Woo movies, Jackie Chan, Kate Bush’s “Wuthering Heights” dance movies. Not to mention, the original Bring It On. 

My favourite movies growing up were Hellraiser, The Exorcist, and Carrie, but I’m most influenced by J-horror — Audition, Ringu, Ju-On — and Korean revenge thrillers.

HR: Kerry, did you have prior cheer experience? If not, are there any funny behind-the-scenes moments that happened during training for the movie? 

Kerry Medders: I didn’t have any prior cheer experience! When I booked the role, I had two days to get to Canada and start three weeks of cheer boot camp. Funny enough, I didn’t exercise at all before the project. I was the girl who said, “I don’t run,” I remember the first day at the gym, and our warm-up was to run laps. Maybe it wasn’t funny to anyone else, but looking back, it was funny.

HR: What are your favorite horror movies? 

Medders: Favorite horror movies? The Shining, hands down, I wrote a whole report about the psychological aspect to my ‘humanities’ college professor.

HR: Now, which horror classic villain do you guys think you could outrun or survive a fight against? 

Lam: Probably none — I’m completely uncoordinated and would probably be the first on the chopping block. What’s the opposite to the Final Girl?

Medders: Norman Bates, for sure.

HR: Karen, what’s another fun comedy that you can see becoming the next slasher? 

Lam: I would love to do the horror version of Footloose.

HR: Kerri, which Scream Queens have inspired you or helped you prepare for this role?

Medders: There are so many influential Scream Queens out there! Jamie Lee Curtis, Samara Weaving, Anya Taylor-Joy, etc., etc.

HR: Besides chills and thrills, what do you both hope audiences take away from this movie? 

Lam: I hope they actually have a fun time and fall in love with the spirit of cheer, which is what happened to me!  

Medders: I hope audiences have an enjoyable time with this film. It’s got the campy element of a Bring It On film with a slasher aspect.

HR: And since this interview is for Hidden Remote, we gotta ask, what are you guys watching right now? Are you sticking to horror and crime docs or mixing it up with comedy? 

Lam: I’m currently watching Severance for the second time and Penny Dreadful, but I am going to dive back into a doc series about the Unibomber. Pretty much where my headspace is at the moment, stylish dystopias about misunderstood psychopaths.

Medders: Well, I just saw the Barbarian, and that messed with my head (in a good way). I didn’t know what to expect from that film, and it’s hands down one of the best horror films I’ve seen. Completely unexpected. Also, on a lighter note, I’m binging The Golden Girls to balance out the spooky watches.

Bring It On: Cheer or Die premieres on Saturday, Oct. 8, at 9 p.m. ET only on SYFY.

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