I’m a simple man with simple tastes. On its very best day, the world is filled with drama and tragedy. I don’t need it in my entertainment too. So for my first P10 For Your Consideration post, I give you the current reigning Scream Queen, Samara Weaving.
It’s not her looks. Or, well, not entirely her looks. She’s gorgeous with a grin like barbed wire, but my tastes skew more “curvy brunette” than “slim blonde.” More importantly, she straddles that genre line between innocent victim and avenging heroine with the occasional dip into batshit insane villain with perfect aplomb. She’s as accomplished at comedy as she is at graphic violence. Like Jamie Lee Curtis and Neve Campbell, her performances elevate schlocky slashers to an art form. Plus, Australian.
Although she’s been working since at least 2008, I was first introduced to Weaving in Ash vs Evil Dead’s first season where she played one of the infamous cabin’s many victims. Then in 2017, she showed up as McG’s titular character in The Babysitter, Netflix’s absurdly entertaining teen slasher. Weaver and her friends want to murder teen virgin Cole in exchange for satanic wealth and power. Along with Bella Thorne and a weirdly supportive Robbie Amell, Weaving owned that movie. She took a cheesy horror stereotype and turned it into something equally scary and sexy. That same year she appeared in the hit Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri and Mayhem, a gloriously vicious revenge fantasy against predatory bankers enabled by a rage virus. Steven Yeun plays Derek, a corporate lawyer stabbed in the back by his superiors who enlists Melanie (Weaving) in his mission. Her home’s been repossessed by the same organization and the two carve a bloody swathe to the top floor, buoyed along by vindictiveness and an utter lack of fear. Weaving screams, laughs, and carves her way through the maddened lawyers with utter gusto.
Then, around her work on Picnic at Hanging Rock and SMILF, Weaving turned in her (IMO) two best performances so far, Ready or Not and Guns Akimbo. The latter features Daniel Radcliffe as Miles, an internet troll who gets a pair of pistols bolted to his hands and is forced to battle Nix (Weaving), a sociopath carving her bloody way through a real-life video game towards the people who ruined both their lives. Throughout the movie Weaving is a filthy force of nature, fueled by cocaine and hate and laying waste to her enemies. Is Guns Akimbo a sophisticated allegory about our internet addiction and the constant search for the next high by a generation emotionally stunted by the endless media library at our fingertips? Uh… No. But it is an entertaining, darkly humorous bullet ballet buoyed up by Radcliffe’s and Weaving’s No Fucks Given performances.
And Ready or Not? That one is a genuine masterpiece. Weaving plays Grace, a blissfully happy blue-collar bride marrying Alex Le Domas, heir apparent to a board game empire. It’s like if the Milton Bradley Company’s fortune was guaranteed through satanic blessings. Grace’s nuptial bliss turns to horrified betrayal when she learns she’s the latest generation’s sacrifice, hunted in a deadly game of Hide & Seek by her in-laws. The movie is hilarious, terrifying, and stomach-churning in equal amounts, buoyed up by truly stellar performances from Andie MacDowell, Melanie Scrofano, and Adam Brody. The rest of the cast is equally great, but it’s Weaving’s evolution from happy new wife to vengeful killer that grounds the whole show. She wanders the La Domas estate in her increasingly tattered and bloody wedding dress like a spectral bride, fighting for her survival against the corrupt, dissolute one-percenters who destroyed her hope of ever belonging to a normal family. Her brittle laughter and pained screams are equally disturbing, but she never stops moving forward.
Since then, she’s played Bill’s daughter Thea in Bill & Ted Face the Music; Scarlett in the G.I. Joe movie Snake Eyes; and a desperate influencer in Hulu’s Nine Perfect Strangers. And with another 6 projects in various levels of production, she shows no sign of slowing down. Here’s hoping we get to hear this brilliant Scream Queen’s ululating howl of rage and pain for years to come.
Header Image Source: Youtube screenshots