(US - 2019)
Directed by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett. Written by Guy Busick and R. Christopher Murphy. Cast: Samara Weaving, Adam Brody, Andie MacDowell, Henry Czerny, Mark O'Brien, Melanie Scrofano, Kristian Bruun, Nicky Guadagni, Elyse Levesque, John Ralston, Liam McDonald, Ethan Tavares, Hanneke Talbot, Celine Tsai, Daniela Barbosa, voice of Nat Faxon. (R, 95 mins)
"Fucking rich people."
That's the central theme of READY OR NOT, the strongest effort yet from the filmmaking collective known as "Radio Silence," consisting of directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett, and producer Chad Villela, whose work will be familiar to fanboy-approved anthologies like V/H/S and SOUTHBOUND. Their debut feature film was 2014's uninspired and instantly-forgotten DEVIL'S DUE. READY OR NOT seems a little familiar at the outset--with a set-up that's reminiscent of the excellent YOU'RE NEXT, which opened exactly six years ago--but it soon goes its own way, almost like a satirically-charged old dark house horror movie about the extent to which the wealthy will go in order to protect their fortune and privilege that's part CLUE and part MOST DANGEROUS GAME. It's wildly entertaining and contains maybe the most hilariously bonkers finale of the summer, but what really makes READY OR NOT something special is a star-making performance by Australian actress Samara Weaving. Perhaps best known for the Showtime series SMILF, Weaving (Hugo is her uncle) has been making a name for herself in cult horror circles with the 2017 Netflix original THE BABYSITTER, which was better than a movie directed by McG has any business being, and she was the only good thing about the obnoxious splatter horror comedy MAYHEM.