READY OR NOT (2019)
Samara Weaving, Adam Brody, Mark O'Brien, Henry Czerny, Andie MacDowell
Directed by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett
Directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett (half of the collective known as Radio Silence) bring the horror back to Fox Searchlight, the studio behind “28 Days Later” and “The Hills Have Eyes,” with the entertaining splatterfest “Ready or Not” featuring Aussie Samara Weaving as a weapon-toting bride in Chuck Taylors taking on her sinister in-laws. Frights are scarce but laughs are abundant in the film that should satisfy the horror junkie.
Weaving plays Grace, a former foster kid who falls in love with Alex Le Domas (Mark O’Brien), a wealthy millennial whose family made their fortune with gaming. Eccentric is not the right word for this clan as Grace will soon discover. Everyone’s family is a little dysfunctional, but this group is next level.
The film opens with a flashback of the Le Domas family during a deadly game of Hide and Seek. Let’s just say it doesn’t end well for the person hiding. Fast forward to the present and Grace and Alex’s wedding day where everyone seems welcoming to the new bride. Well almost everyone. Aunt Helene (Nicky Guadagni) in a purple cape and spikey platinum blonde hair sits with a grimace as she watches over the joyous occasion.
After the nuptials, Grace is told that she must play a game with the family at midnight, a tradition whenever anyone new is welcomed into the fold. A random card is drawn to determine which game will be played. It could be one of the Le Domas’ board games like Family Ritual or Le Bail’s Gambit or something more traditional like Old Maid, but unfortunately, Grace draws the Hide and Seek card which unbeknownst to her means that she must hide while the rest of the family tries to kill her before sunrise.
Think of “Ready or Not” as a bloody version of the 1985 comedy “Clue” with enjoyable performances by Adam Brody as the boozy brother-in-law, Henry Czerny as the over the top patriarch, the wonderful Andie MacDowell as the sympathetic grande dame, and a superb Samara Weaving, who could be Margot Robbie’s doppelganger, in a performance that invigorates the horror-comedy.
Even if you’re not a fan of horror the dark comedy is entertaining enough that you may still find yourself having a good time. Bettinelli-Olpin and Gillett spent a good portion of the budget on artificial blood, but the directors never go for the gross-out scenes. You’ll find yourself rooting for Grace who becomes a representative for the middle class and the poor as she sticks it to the group that owns 35% of the country’s total wealth, as Grace puts it “F—king rich people.”
(3 ½ stars)