Film, DVD, Blu-Ray & Streaming Reviews - By Fans For Fans



Directed by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin & Tyler Gillett.

Starring Melissa Barrera, Dan Stevens, Alisha Weir.

Horror, US, 109 minutes, certificate 18.


Released in cinemas in the UK 19th April by Universal.


A seemingly expert crew of kidnappers pull off the abduction of a young girl from her ballet recital and hole up in a remote safe house while they await the ransom. As the hours pass by the crew, all given code names matching those of the Rat Pack try to figure out not only who each other are but who the young girl and her supposedly rich father is. Without going into spoilers, one particularly dark secret is revealed and a vast amount of blood is shed as a fight for survival begins.


After rebooting the SCREAM franchise, to mixed results, directing duo Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillet, also known as Radio Silence, return to the stomping grounds of a vast mansion filled with secrets and danger, a location that served them so well with 2019’s READY OR NOT. Like that film we follow a female protagonist, this time Melissa Barrera, collaborating for a third time with the duo, playing Joey, who seemingly has a nurturing nature that comes out when interacting with the seemingly terrified Abigail.


Not so nurturing is Frank, an ill-tempered Dan Stevens, also bolstering up his already impressive genre credentials. The rest of the crew consists of a teenage hacker, Sammy, played by up-and-coming genre favourite Kathryn Newton, the imposing yet good natured Peter, Kevin Durand playing humorously against type, no nonsense trigger man Rickles, William Catlett, and the not so sharp wheel man Dean, played by Angus Cloud, who sadly passed away before the films release.


How the story unfolds is massively entertaining and slickly executed, putting the film on an even footing with READY OR NOT, with which it shares a neat blink or miss it in-universe connection as well as a twist filled narrative and nicely staged splatter effects that splash across the screen to often spectacular effect effortlessly earning the film its eighteen certificate.


For those lucky enough not to have seen the spoiler-filled trailer or read any other reviews which seem all too eager to also give the game away, the film should come across as a real surprise. The script, co-written by READY OR NOT’s Guy Busick and THE HOLE IN THE GROUND’s Stephen Shields, makes a smart job of melding crime flicks with full on horror, measuring itself out with smart pacing and intriguing character work, complimented by the entertaining performances with Barrera making an even more impressive heroine here than in the recent SCREAM films. Also particularly impressive is Alisha Weir as the titular character, but for reasons that are best for the unsuspecting viewer to discover on their own.


Although the film is guilty of using the spooky girl dancing trope, already old news after last year's M3GAN and THE SACRIFICE GAME, there is still a great deal of fun to be had here, showing what Barerr and the Radio Silence duo are capable of when tackling more original material while Alisha Weir makes just as much of an impression. Great fun that will no doubt impress fans of the particular genre it eventually makes its mark on.


Iain MacLeod.


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Film, DVD, Blu-Ray & Streaming Reviews
By Fans For Fans