The importance of family is something that the wealthy Le Domas clan takes seriously. Protecting the family unit is not simply something to strive for, it is a necessity. One must earn their spot into the fold, a fact that new bride Grace (Samara Weaving) learns the hard way in Matt Bettinelli-Oplin and Tyler Gillett’s delightful horror comedy Ready or Not.
Hours after marrying the love of her life Alex Le Domas (Mark O’Brien), Grace’s husband springs on her that she won’t be having a typical wedding night. As tradition dictates, new additions to the family must participate in a game at the stroke of midnight. Win the game and she is officially part of the family.
Seeing that the Le Domas’ made their fortunes through their family game company, Grace thinks nothing of it at first. A former orphan, Grace relishes at the opportunity to be a part of familial customs. The Le Domas clan is less enthusiastic though about what the ancient mysterious game box, which randomly picks what will be played that night, will select. While past games have included Chess and Old Maid there is one game, Hide-and-Seek, that everyone in the family, except for Alex’s cold aunt Helene (Nicky Guadagni in a hilarious turn), is hoping they won’t have to play. Of course, it is that exact game that is chosen by the box.
Unbeknownst to Grace this is no ordinary schoolyard game. In the Le Domas family’s ritualistic version, they must find and kill Grace before dawn. Making for a family game night that none of them will ever forget.
Though Alex’s parents may spout the virtues of family more times than Vin Diesel in a Fast & Furious film, it becomes clear the Le Domas clan love money even more. The family revel in the great wealth they have, but it clearly has come at a price that Alex and his alcoholic brother Daniel (Adam Brody) are reluctant to pay. Gleefully taking aim at the elites who make up the 1%, Ready or Not finds plenty of dark comedy in people who have lavish walls adorned with animal trophy’s but cannot figure out how to use a crossbow. While Bettinelli-Oplin and Gillett’s film has a good time skewing the disregard that the wealthy have for others outside of their close nit orbit, especially the hired help, it does not get weighed down by its social commentary.
Skillfully balancing humour and genuine moments of horror, Ready or Not is an entertaining thrill ride first and foremost. One that never overstays its welcome. Much of this is due to the brilliant work by the ensemble cast. While veterans such as Henry Czerny and Andie MacDowell serve up superb performances, Samara Weaving is the glue that keeps the film together.
Weaving not only carries a vulnerability which makes Grace’s plight harrowing, but also a sense of defiance that all the great final girls have in horror films. The way she effortless shifts between the various tones of the film is a stunning. The only ones who come close to stealing her thunder are Melanie Scrofano and Kristian Bruun, playing Alex’s cocaine sniffing sister Emilie and her husband Fitch respectively, who are the comedic scene-stealers of the film. Scofano and Bruun light up every frame they are in with their wonderful timing as the shallow couple who are clearly in over their heads.
A devilishly entertaining film that will have you laughing and gasping with equal measure, Ready or Not is wickedly fun and full of surprises.