'The Babysitter' Star Samara Weaving to Lead Thriller 'Ready or Not'

Weaving continues to embrace her scream queen status with open arms.

The Babysitter Samara Weaving

Weaving continues to embrace her scream queen status with open arms.

Samara Weaving has had a gloriously fun Hollywood career so far. Her career beginnings were fortuitous in her home country of Australia, to begin with. She began a regular TV career as a mainstay in the famed soap opera Home and Away, a gig which lasted several years. Subsequently, Weaving’s first foray into feature films saw her appearing in Ivan Sen’s critically acclaimed outback drama Mystery Road.

Since Weaving premiered in America, though, she has gotten to star in some goofy but memorable things. She has popped up in a movie called Monster Trucks. She plays naivete up to eleven in Martin McDonagh’s Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. And Weaving has become a bona fide scream queen in some of the freshest and funniest modern horror adventures, which also happens to include the Evil Dead franchise.

In spite of the blood and guts already splashed across Weaving’s filmography, she is far from done with horror. In fact, she may be seeking some different thrills with her next project.

According to Variety, Weaving is set to lead a new thriller that Fox Searchlight put into development in the fall of 2017. The film – titled Ready or Not – will be the latest brainchild of Tyler Gillett and Matt Bettinelli-Olpin (Southbound), members of the famed Radio Silence directorial group. They will work from a script by Stan Against Evil’s Guy Busick and Ryan Murphy (who ought not to be confused with the most powerful man on TV).

Ready or Not will be about a young woman (Weaving) who marries into an affluent household with eccentric tastes. Unbeknownst to her, her wedding night is about to go awry when she is invited to partake in a particularly lethal family tradition: a game of hide and seek which dictates that participants must fight for their survival.

We’re not given any character details to supplement this synopsis, which limits our understanding of the potential that Weaving’s protagonist has. I’m willing to accept her continued presence in horror as a stellar prospect, though. After all, the powerful, likable spirit she consistently brings to the genre speaks for itself.

Save for her three-episode stint on Ash vs Evil Dead playing a particularly spineless character, Weaving isn’t really known for running away from the face of evil. Sometimes, she is the actual evil a la The Babysitter, which indulges in horror comedy tropes by pushing the envelope tenfold. The McG-directed romp definitely does not take itself seriously and sports a cast that’s perfectly willing to relish in the deliberate escapism that suffuses the film. Weaving leads the pack of campy actors impeccably, playing someone so genuinely and effortlessly affable that we don’t much care if she’s the leader of a demonic cult.

Weaving will also happily take on oppressive establishments, barreling through one anger-filled corporate goon at a time, as demonstrated in Mayhem. The Joe Lynch action comedy is also stylized to boot, but further bolstered by a more palpable overarching message. The film is a quirky, off-color look at the carnage of seedy office politics – both literally and figuratively – and uses stylishly brutal action set pieces to deliver its key talking points. There’s no need for finesse in a fast-paced caper like this, but with violent images that supplement a darkly comedic edge, we get the point. Mayhem even has the power of actorly chemistry on its side: Weaving and Steven Yeun play partners-in-crime hoping to bring some semblance of a comeuppance to those who’ve wronged them, and their camaraderie is uncannily easy to get behind.

Weaving’s horror career has been built so sturdily on exuberant charm that the thought of a potentially subdued project like the Picnic at Hanging Rock TV series always felt new and exciting. As it turns out, the chilling serial adaptation of Joan Lindsay’s 1967 novel is more akin to a Gothic-inspired psychological drama than Peter Weir’s languid fever dream. The deeper focus on characterization in the series gives Weaving a chance to explore delicacy in a quietly haunting landscape without excising her witty presence around her peers. On her character Irma Leopold — one of the girls who mysteriously goes missing during a Valentine’s Day picnic at Hanging Rock — Weaving has specifically said that “[she] wants the world to be beautiful – she wants it to have a heart and to be sparkly.” And indeed, throughout the series, we get to witness the unraveling of the supposed materialism that Irma is introduced with, uncovering a decidedly emotionally fractured character skilfully portrayed by Weaving.

The hope is that Ready or Not supplements these different facets of Weaving’s horror personality adequately, regardless of whether she’s being deliberately funny or more considered and nuanced. While Ready or Not will mark Busick and Murphy’s big screenwriting debut, Radio Silence should be able to pick up the slack with their keen directorial eye. The filmmaking group delivered proficient segments in anthology series V/H/S and Southbound.

It must be said that their first full-length feature — the found-footage movie Devil’s Due — wasn’t a total home-run, yet not an irredeemable disaster. Gillett and Bettinelli-Olpin succeed in drawing great performances from lead actors Zach Gilford and Allison Miller, but the formalistic limitations of the subgenre are far too obvious in the finished film. That said, Southbound dictates that we probably don’t have to write Radio Silence off completely. The duo seamlessly and eerily bookends road trip horror stories from three other filmmakers, creating to a greatly effective cyclical nightmare.

With Weaving’s standout star power in sure hands, Ready or Not could really be her next horror hit.

Often chugging tea and thinking about horror movies. Particularly loves writing stuff and things with a feminist bent here at Film School Rejects.