Hide and seek but with funny murders
I thought I was ready for “Ready or Not.” I was not.
It’s a sharp, bloody and funny thriller that has both pulpy charms and some sneaky satire.
It’s got a premise that feels a bit like the “Purge” movies, but it goes places that were always missing from that seemingly endless series.
Grace (Samara Weaving) is a beautiful bride about to marry into the wealthy Le Domas family. The family made its riches in gaming (as in board games, not gambling), which brings us to a seemingly harmless wedding tradition that Samara’s new hubby, Alex (Mark O'Brien), neglected to mention.C'mon, it won't kill you: Sign up for our daily newsletter
The evening after the wedding, Samara (still in her bridal gown) joins the family in a large room. She’s told she has to draw a card and play a game. You know, like checkers. When she draws a card that reads simply “Ready or Not,” the family reaction indicates they know something she doesn’t. That card is not like the others.
It seems like a simple game of hide and seek, but soon the rest of this comically blue-blood family is brandishing weapons and effectively hunting the bride.
Directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett take viewers on a wild and taut ride with a 90-minute runtime that keeps things moving at a perfect pace. It’s a horror-comedy at heart, and definitely more in it for the laughs than the scares, which isn’t to say it doesn’t evoke a share of creeps in the “Rosemary’s Baby” vein.
Propelling the whole affair is a breakout performance by Weaving, who goes from blushing bride to badass when Grace’s survival instinct kicks in. The rest of the Le Domas family is fantastically cast, including Andie MacDowell as the matriarch and Adam Brody as the groom’s brother.
“Ready or Not” is punctuated by moments of gore, but many of them play more for laughs than disgust, and damn if they don’t work.
The underlying theme is a sharp critique of the ultra-wealthy, the movie an extrapolation of the idea that the rich really are different.
I wouldn’t dare spoil it, but a wild ending ties things up in an utterly delightful way that had me clapping. My first comparison point was “The Cabin in the Woods,” and that’s high praise.