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See a slasher movie through the killer's eyes in bloody first trailer for ‘In a Violent Nature’

See a slasher movie through the killer's eyes in bloody first trailer for ‘In a Violent Nature’

Writer-director Chris Nash tells EW how he put a fresh spin on the slasher genre.

Ever watch a slasher movie and wonder what the killer was getting up to between murders?

Writer-director Chris Nash takes a stab at answering that question in his directorial debut, In a Violent Nature, which premiered earlier this year at the Sundance Film Festival. The film follows Johnny, "a vengeful undead brute, as he methodically slaughters a group of campers in the wilderness after they remove a pendant from his resting grounds,” per the official description.

But everything you really need to know about the movie is right there in the title: There’s a lot of violence, and there’s a lot of nature. Turns out, when he’s not ripping his victims to shreds, Johnny (Ry Barrett) spends a lot of his time hiking in the great outdoors. Accurately described in the logline as an “ambient slasher,” In a Violent Nature balances its gruesome kills with extended sequences of Johnny ambling alone through the remote woods. These tracking shots are often interspersed with meditative images of the natural world around him, an homage to filmmaker Terrance Malick, whom, along with Gus Van Sant, Nash cites as an inspiration.

<p>Courtesy of IFC Films</p> Johnny enjoys a quiet stroll through the forest in 'In a Violent Nature'

Courtesy of IFC Films

Johnny enjoys a quiet stroll through the forest in 'In a Violent Nature'

“For years, I’ve thought of applying their form and aesthetic to the horror genre, and a slasher seemed like the best fit since many of them have flirted with that stylistic approach but rarely commit to it beyond a set piece or two,” Nash tells Entertainment Weekly.

Other details, like where Johnny comes from, and what he wants, were not as important to the first-time filmmaker. “One of the biggest challenges was trying to figure out how much information is necessary to tell the story,” says the director. “Fortunately, the slasher genre has a lot of recognizable tropes that I could rely on filling in the blanks that we couldn’t touch on without straying too far from our stylistic conceit. I owe an unfathomable debt to all the Friday the 13ths, The Burning, My Bloody Valentine — really the entire slasher genre; they laid the foundation for our film.”

<p>Courtesy of IFC Films</p> Johnny dons a murder in his vintage fireman's mask in 'In a Violent Nature'

Courtesy of IFC Films

Johnny dons a murder in his vintage fireman's mask in 'In a Violent Nature'

As for Johnny’s character design, Nash explained in a statement, “The aim was to have Johnny imbued with elements that would make him feel iconic, mythic, and familiar, as a way to tap into the feeling I got while watching slasher films as a kid.” One of those elements is Johnny’s unique mask, which, like the film itself, presents a familiar archetype in a different way. “It was inspired by a 19th-century piece of firefighting equipment called a Vejan-Bader helmet,” Nash tells EW of the headwear seen above. “I believe I first came across it in an old Cracked.com article, but I squirreled it away in my brain. It took a few iterations to get right; my first design was too bulbous, too much like a diving bell.”

While Nash does much to turn the genre on its head, In a Violent Nature still delivers on its slasher promise by showcasing a plethora of imaginative kills. “A lot of the creativity simply comes from exploiting the environment — thinking of ways the existing props can work with the setting and specific situation,” Nash says. “We didn’t want to have every death scene consist of Johnny smacking a camper with his axe.”

<p>Courtesy of IFC Films</p> Johnny admires his latest kill in 'In a Violent Nature'

Courtesy of IFC Films

Johnny admires his latest kill in 'In a Violent Nature'

Horror fans can see the world from Johnny’s point of view when In a Violent Nature hits theaters on May 31. Watch the exclusive trailer above.

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Read the original article on Entertainment Weekly.