This is a fun film that’s laced in profanity. The movie is semi-based on the 1920’s book and 1930’s film The Most Dangerous Game, where a big game hunter is hunted on an isolated island by an aristocrat like an animal. Most movies that involved hunting a person like game sport are usually compared to this pioneering b-movie drive-in classic. This film did come out in 2019 in theatres but it can be found on rental from on streaming services like Crave/HBO, Google Play, Amazon Prime, or AppleTV.
This unconventional horror movie about a rich upper-class family welcoming a young bride into their play with a game. A young woman just got married to her very wealthy groom on his family’s estate. The movie takes place during the after-party being hosted by the in-laws. The new bride can choose a game of her choice from a box of playing cards that lead to deadly apprehensions. She chose the game hide-and-seek which was a very unlucky hand that had her running for her life trying to remain alive and hidden until sunrise. The in-law family hunts her down with weapons from the 1930s like crossbows, axes, harpoons and long-barrelled shotguns to a ragtime tune about hide-and-seek. The game is deadly because of a curse that happened to the family during the 1930s to a being named “Le Bail” for a continuous flow of fortune for their lives with every new family member drawing a card from the playing card box on their first night in the new family.
The film is very violent. A lot of the characters do end up dead like the wait staff, the house staff and the family. There’s a lot of blood and grime in the movie with characters being shot at with arrows or bullets, or being smashed with blunt objects.
The young bride, Grace Le Domas, is played by Samara Weaving. The young bride never felt like she ever had a family from being in foster care her whole life and never truly connecting to her foster family. She has the more modern updated reaction to all the things that happen instead of crying and being half-dressed by fighting back and cursing a lot. Most of the cursing and foul mouth language comes from this character. You can do a count to the number of times she says F@$# a lot. But in the character’s defence, she does get injured a lot. The character is relatable within the situation she is in. Also, the wedding dress does get damaged beyond repair. Since this is a horror movie, her scream is very unique and not a high-pitched one but an off-pitched one. Almost like a goat, hopefully intentional.
The family is very superstitious, protective and has strong traditions. Those traditions are rooted in a deal with the devil of sorts which is how they base their business model and ability to engage with others. Throughout the film, there’s Satanic imagery like the family goat barn, skeletons, the board games (especially the titles) that hint on something is up. They are a scheming cold heartless bunch almost to the levels of cartoonish villainy. Especially the great aunt looking like a high society witch.
The film is colour graded to have this greenish-yellow hue when all of the characters are inside the house because of the candlelight but make the interior look creepy and unsettling. Some parts look very amber. The exterior of the house has the usual deep blue hue for the night which works well too.
The house was a mix of the Parkwood Estate mansion and Casa Loma in Ontario, Canada which was where it was filmed. Most likely nothing was ever damaged to the house while filming and people still can visit the buildings for tours (when things open up.) Also, most of the cast is from Canada, too. I just found that to be an interesting “Timbit” about the film.
The film was directed with great suspense and comedic timing. It’s very funny at times when it can be. The suspense pretty much builds on top of itself for some great payoffs towards the story. There are some parts with some situational comedy and sarcasm in this thriller.
Duration: 94 minutes
Four out of five stars