A bride’s wedding night takes a sinister turn when her eccentric new in-laws force her to take part in a terrifying game.
Horror comedy is a tough genre to get right. Lean too far into the horror and any comedy undercuts the tension, and go too far in the other direction and the horror feels misplaced and loses its impact. ‘Ready or Not’ is a rare example of a film that gets that balance just right, a tongue in cheek movie that works both as a straightforward entertaining horror yarn, and a satirical skewering of the super rich. ‘Ready or Not’ stars Samara Weaving as Grace, a young woman on her wedding day, preparing to marry into the rich Le Domas family, an eccentric brood who made their millions in the board game industry.
The Le Domas family live in a huge gothic mansion and take their traditions very seriously, which include a wedding night ritual involving the new member of the family having to play a game at midnight (as shown in a chilling opening which shows us exactly what’s coming down the track for Grace). The film wastes limited time in getting us to this point and as soon as Grace pulls the hide and seek card out the ‘game selector’, the action really starts as the Le Domas family set off to hunt her down. Weaving is terrific as Grace, alternating between the timid dumb blonde that the Le Domas family expect her to be, and the steely, determined fighter that she actually discovers herself to be. The supporting cast are all having a ball too, with Andie MacDowell relishing the role of Grace’s new mother in law and Kristian Bruun getting a lot of the laughs as a dim-witted addition to the family.
All of the characters are self aware and realise how absurd the whole endeavour seems, yet are propelled forward nonetheless and there’s some great dark humour on display and gore is used to good effect, sometimes in surprising ways. The filmmakers are inventive in the different ways they find to maim or kill characters and much of the fun in the film comes from the reactions of the characters each time, and the manic energy that permeates the action once the game starts is quite infectious. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed ‘Ready or Not’ but particularly coming a day after seeing the plodding ‘The Goldfinch’, this was a refreshing blast of pure entertainment and it’s worth seeking out.
Directed By: Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett
Starring: Samara Weaving, Mark O’Brien, Adam Brody, Andie MacDowell, Henry Czerny, Kristian Bruun, Nicky Guadagni, Melanie Scrofano, Elyse Levesque and John Ralston