Entertainment Movies Scream queen trio puts the ‘hell’ in 2019’s crop of Halloween flicks
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Scream queen trio puts the ‘hell’ in 2019’s crop of Halloween flicks

Lupita Nyong'o keeps it chill with some kids in Abe Forsythe's Little Monsters. Photo: Screen Australia
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Ready or not, Halloween movies to see this year star a trio of Australian scream queens, with Samara Weaving leading the charge and an Oscar winner playing an honorary local role.

Killing it in hilariously gory horror-comedy Ready or Not, charismatic Adelaide-born Weaving, 29, plays tattooed, Converse-wearing bride Grace.

Her blissful union with the handsome heir of a board game empire’s fortune, Alex (Mark O’Brien), takes a turn for the terrifying on their wedding night when she picks the wrong card from a loaded deck at midnight.

The bizarre family tradition sees her cajoled into playing hide and seek. But pretty soon it becomes apparent that the new in-laws, including a magnificently arch Andie MacDowell (Four Weddings and a Funeral) and Adam Brody (The OC), are in it to win it with bloody murder in mind.

Gore-filled mayhem ensues in this unexpectedly awesome Halloween treat. There’s a hint of Uma Thurman’s Kill Bill ass-kicking fury as a lace-dressed Grace fights back, and a whole stack of gross out special effects as things get ultra vicious.

Just don’t ask what’s buried in the goat shed.

Gasping in shock one minute, you’ll erupt into outrageous laughter the next in this perfect Halloween fright night date directed by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett (V/H/S) as Weaving leans into her distinct ability for black comedy.

On a fast-track to stardom, she’s following hot in the footsteps of Margot Robbie and Naomi Watts, trading homegrown soap – she was Home and Away tearaway Indi Walker – for Hollywood.

Building on a fun spot in comic horror TV series Ash vs Evil Dead, Weaving increased her profile in the US in bittersweet Boston-set comedy SMILF and a small role in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.

Now based in Los Angeles, she’s been going places for a long time. As a kid, her family moved around Asia, including Indonesia, Fiji and Singapore.

The Matrix star Hugo Weaving is her uncle, and father Simon is a filmmaker and former artistic director of the Canberra International Film Festival.

Elsewhere in this spooky season, homegrown horror The Furies sees Killing Ground star Airlie Dodds continues her ‘final girl’ run as Kayla.

Shot in Canberra and written and directed by Tony D’Aquino, the movie sees Dodds play a young woman kidnapped from a city street alongside bestie Maddie (Ebony Vagulans).

Waking up in a box in the middle of the bush after undergoing a mysterious operation, she’s forced to fight a horde of mutilated monsters and is pitted against fellow survivors.

It reminded me of the themes of Charlotte Wood’s best-selling novel The Natural Way of Things in its disorientating abduction and feminist fight for survival in the back of beyond.

Awarded Best Australian Film at the recent Fangoria x Monster Fest, it’s a fun slasher that further demonstrates a piercing-eyed Dodds’ mettle.

And we’re also giving honorary Aussie scream queen status to luminous Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker ensemble member Lupita Nyong’o.

The 2014 Academy award best supporting actress (12 Years a Slave) swaps her malicious doppelganger menace in box-office hit Us for giggle-packed zombie-slaying as a kinder teacher pushed to the edge in Down Under director Abe Forsythe’s fantastic Little Monsters.

Oscillating wildly between cute and outrageously potty-mouthed and bloody, it’s ghastly good and also stars fellow American Josh Gad (Frozen) and local hero Alexander England (Offspring).

Spoiled for choice, keep living the Aussie scream and see all three.

Ready or Not is screening nationally, with Little Monsters out on October 31 and The Furies on November 7.

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