9 Perfect Shots with ‘Ready or Not’ Filmmakers Radio Silence

2019 has already been another fantastic year at the movies, but Ready or Not — which opens in theaters on August 21st — has quickly become one of our new favorites. It’s a funny, bloody, entertaining as hell experience about a young woman whose wedding night takes a turn for the ridiculous and deadly, and Samara Weaving leads a pitch-perfect cast guaranteed to have you smiling for ninety minutes straight.

It’s the second feature from a trio of filmmakers known as Radio Silence, and if their name sounds familiar it’s probably because they burst onto the genre scene with the best segment from 2012’s V/H/S before delivering more fun as part of 2015’s Southbound. The trio divvies up duties this time around with Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett directing while Chad Villella produces, and as already mentioned the result is an absolute gem. But don’t take just my word for it, read our spoiler-free review!

It’s a visually striking film, too, with imagery both highly memorable and frequently cheer-worthy. Surprising no one, the three filmmakers are also film lovers with an eye (or six, probably) for great frames, and they’ve been kind enough to share some of the movies that drive and inspire them in their own work. Keep reading for nine perfect shots from Radio Silence.


Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

Directed by Steven Spielberg
Cinematography by Douglas Slocombe

“This is one of the hundreds I could have picked from the Indiana Jones series but this is the one that encapsulates everything I love about movies. It’s absolute pure adventure. Tension and humor all in one. He’s literally laughing in the face of danger all around (and above). And it perfectly captures that almost magical invulnerable vulnerability that is Indiana Jones. Even though Ready or Not is a far cry from Raiders of the Lost Ark, it’s still a constant touchstone for us. In addition to the endless barrage of obstacles Grace has to fight through with equal parts wit and strength, Samara [Weaving] brought a special quality to the role of Grace… that ability to see the world around you for all the craziness and to react in a relatable — but often unexpected — way. For me, this shot encapsulates that invigorating sense of what it means to be alive in the chaos.” (Matt Bettinelli-Olpin)


Back to the Future (1985)

Directed by Robert Zemeckis
Cinematography by Dean Cundey

“The shot above from Robert Zemeckis’ Back to the Future sums up everything I love about movies — the unexpected surprise of attaining a goal that has been an obsession and instantly realizing that you are completely unprepared to deal with it. The looks on both Christopher Lloyd’s Doc Brown and Michael J. Fox’s Marty McFly of complete childlike wonderment shows us that we should always have fun on the journey. Also, Marty’s perplexed fish out of water character has been a staple in all of our work throughout the years — take a normal, everyday Joe and thrust him into an extraordinary adventure. Dean Cundey’s shot captures everything wonderful with the unexpected as the flaming tire tracks shoot right between Doc and Marty’s legs… and sums up in a single frame, that it is an absolute pleasure to have fun at the movies.” (Chad Villella)


Three Amigos (1986)

Directed by John Landis
Cinematography by Ronald W. Browne

“At face value, Three Amigos is of course wildly different than Ready or Not. But our segment of V/H/S (and everything we did as CHADMATTANDROB) was highly influenced by movies like the Three Amigos… movies about unsuspecting and unprepared characters who enter a story expecting one thing and get the exact opposite. For us, that’s the fun of blending comedy and horror and it’s also where the humor and the tension really lives… in that distance between what is required of the character and what the character is actually capable of.” (Matt Bettinelli-Olpin)


Goodfellas (1990)

Directed by Martin Scorsese
Cinematography by Michael Ballhaus

“Martin Scorsese’s final shot — a nod to the 1903 film The Great Train Robbery — has Joe Pesci’s Tommy DeVito firing a shot directly down the barrel of the camera, to let the audience know that all of your crimes and sins eventually catch up to you. It’s a real live by the gun, die by the gun ending that personifies the harsh consequences of a life of crime. Pesci’s ability to look directly into your soul is a fantastic way to wrap up one of my all-time favorite ruthless characters with a punctuation mark.” (Chad Villella)


Seven (1995)

Directed by David Fincher
Cinematography by Darius Khondji

“On the surface, it’s a relatively simple shot but something about it always gets me. It’s all about character. And there’s a humanity in it, a glimmer of hopefulness amidst the onslaught of darkness. But it’s also gut wrenching because of what they’ve been through and where you know the story is going to go. We tried to build in moments like this in Ready or Not, seemingly little moments that connect you to the core of where a character is emotionally at any given moment.” (Matt Bettinelli-Olpin)


Fargo (1996)

Directed by Joel Coen
Cinematography by Roger Deakins

“This frame is the absolute summation of the strange and wonderful tonal tightrope this movie walks perfectly from beginning to end. The diffused daylight lends a surreal quality to the entire scene, making the focused action of Gaear Grimsrud (Peter Stormare) stuffing co-conspirator Carl (Steve Buscemi) into a wood chipper all the more grotesque and absurd. The incredibly specific costuming (including the sock on the foot) and the center punched framing gives this particular shot a staged feel that makes it impossible not to simultaneously cringe, laugh, and be terrified for the state trooper who has finally caught up to her suspect.” (Tyler Gillett)


The Big Lebowski (1998)

Directed by Joel Coen
Cinematography by Roger Deakins

“Being a big fan of trios, the Coen Brothers’ classic The Big Lebowski offers audiences a glimpse inside the dysfunctional co-dependence of lifelong friends. There’s nothing I love more than an unconventional family who fight tooth and nail over the smallest things, then they turn into a unified team when confronted by a threat from the outside. The performances from Jeff Bridges, John Goodman and Steve Buscemi in the scene above is a glorious example of that more-real-than-we’d-all-like-to admit dynamic…shot perfectly by the incomparable Roger Deakins.” (Chad Villella)


Children of Men (2006)

Directed by Alfonso Cuarón
Cinematography by Emmanuel Lubezki

“One of the final frames in a long handheld shot at the beginning of the film that follows Theo (Clive Owen) out of a coffee shop and into the city streets. The long take fully immerses you in the painstakingly designed setting, drawing the viewer deeper and deeper into the world with each passing second. The everyday street scene is then suddenly rocked by a massive explosion in the background — coming from the same coffee shop Theo was just standing in — a violent punctuation mark at the end of the shot that immediately throws the character and audience off balance. From this moment on, you know the movie is going to be a brutal and unpredictable ride, and the camera is going to place you right in the middle of the chaos.” (Tyler Gillett)


There Will Be Blood (2007)

Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson
Cinematography by Robert Elswit

“One of the most iconic frames in one of the most iconic sequences ever shot. Not only is it stunning on a technical level — the detail and contrast between the fire, smoke and foreground character against the late evening sky — but there’s an imperfection to the flaring and vignetting at the edge of the frame that draws the viewer closer to the action. You can almost feel the heat coming off the burning oil derrick. This still is the ultimate snapshot of Daniel Plainview’s (Daniel Day Lewis) power and insanity — and a foreshadowing of the violence and destruction his obsession will cause.” (Tyler Gillett)


Ready or Not is now in theaters, and you should make a point of going to see it.

Rob Hunter: @FakeRobHunter "Rob is great. He likes movies. He writes about them. And he's a good person."