Review: Ready or Not

Ready or Not (2019) 1h 35min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller | 21 August 2019 (USA) Summary: A bride's wedding night takes a sinister turn when her eccentric new in-laws force her to take part in a terrifying game.
Countries: USALanguages: English

A newlywed woman finds herself the target of her inlaw’s deadly game of “hide and seek” in Ready or Not. Grace (Samara Weaving) has just gotten married to Alex Le Domas (Mark O’Brien), the heir to a gaming empire. On her wedding night, Grace is told by Alex that she has to adhere to tradition and participate in a game with the other family members, including Adam’s father Tony (Henry Czerny), mother Becky (Andie MacDowell), and brother Daniel (Adam Brody), among others. Drawing a card from a mysterious box of games, Graces end choosing “Hide and Seek,” which turns out to be the worst choice for her, as she now has to hide as the Le Domas family hunts her down.

Ready or Not is a horror-comedy directed by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett, better known along with producer Chad Villella as the filmmaking collective Radio Silence (V/H/S, Southbound, Devil’s Due). The film can be best described as a gory cross between Adam Wingard’s You’re Next and the board game Clue, with maybe a little dash of Rosemary’s Baby. It isn’t until after she is married to Adam that Grace discovers that his family amassed their large fortune with the help of a mysterious benefactor, who may or may not have been the devil in disguise. The family believes that each new member will have to play a game or else the entire clan will meet a grisly end. However, luck is not on Grace’s side, as she draws to play “Hide and Seek,” since it means she has to hide before dawn or else her inlaws will hunt her down and kill her.

The filmmaking collective of Radio Silence is probably still best known for having directed the most memorable segment from the 2012 found footage anthology V/H/S. While their feature debut Devil’s Due was released to a poor response in 2014, they bounce back with their follow-up Ready or Not. Despite having a horror premise, much is the plot is rooted firmly in comedy since the murderous inlaws tend to be quite incompetent at killing, such as Adam’s sister Emilie (Melanie Scrofano) accidentally killing maids or fellow family member Fitch (Kristian Bruun) looking up instructional videos about how to use a crossbow. In fact, the only family member who seems truly on board with this tradition is Adam’s comically evil Aunt Helene (Nicky Guadagni), who brandishes a mean axe.

Ready or Not continues the upward trajectory Australian actress Samara Weaving (niece of Hugo), who has previously shined in genre films, such as Mayhem and The Babysitter. She is joined by a stacked supporting cast of character actors, including Henry Czerny (Mission: Impossible), Adam Brody (The O.C., Jennifer’s Body), Mark O’Brien (Arrival), Kristian Bruun (Orphan Black), Nicky Guadagni (Cube), and Andie MacDowell, in what I believe to be one of her only horror film roles.

While I wouldn’t say that Ready or Not is a perfect film, it does ultimately end up being an enjoyable horror-comedy that delivers both on the laughs and the gore.

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Sean Kelly Author

Sean Patrick Kelly is a self-described über-geek, who has been an avid film lover for all his life. He graduated from York University in 2010 with an honours B.A. in Cinema and Media Studies and he likes to believe he knows what he’s talking about when he writes about film (despite occasionally going on pointless rants).