A bride’s wedding night takes a sinister turn when her eccentric new in-laws force her to take part in a terrifying game.
Being accepted into the family of your spouse is always a scary proposition. Will his/her parents in-law like me? Will there be a nosy aunt or a drunk brother or a creepy cousin? Will I ever be accepted as one of them? Will I be hunted down by my husband’s family as part of a centuries old satanic ritual?
Ready Or Not taps into this universal fear we all share at some point multiplied by 1000.
It’s clear that directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett are inspired by genre greats like John Carpenter and Wes Craven, as they know that a horror film with something to say will always be more interesting than a mindless violent husk. With character’s giving dialogue like “The rich really are different”, their intentions are left extremely clear that this is a nasty critique of the rich and powerful.
It’s also an analysis on how our own family dynamics shape us in ways we may not even realize, for better or worse. Our villains, the Le Domas family, are – for the most part – a group of despicable, righteous, selfish and entitled bastards that have no sympathy for anyone but themselves. And yet, the film does a good job of making us connect with their situation and understand their plea… even if we might ultimately want them to lose.
What furthers this desire to see them defeated is our hunted bride and heroine Grace, played flawlessly by Samara Weaving. Weaving is able to show the character’s tough, resilient side – her desire to survive this mess – while never losing sight of her vulnerability and humanity – being an orphan who is just looking be accepted by this family -, which makes her an extremely sympathetic character who we are constantly rooting for.
Also doing excellent work in the acting department are the Le Domas family with the only salvageable members being Grace’s husband Alex, played by Mark O’Brien and his conflicted brother Daniel played by Adam Brody. The rest do great work playing these depraved human beings with Henry Czerny in particular being a lot of fun as the patriarch Tony, slowly losing his mind as things don’t go his way.
It should be said that if you’re looking for traditional scares then this might not be the movie for you as it’s tone falls much more in line with the comedic styling of an Evil Dead than the terror of a Dawn of the Dead. But the film is still full of tension, blood and guts which should keep horror aficionados very happy. Like a demented, twisted Home Alone but a much funnier Saw.
Weaving in particular goes through a variety of abuse and pain, with her initially white wedding dress becoming more and more red as the story progresses. There are also no lack of blood and guts, with the filmmakers looking to make you wince and laugh simultaneously.
All good horror movies need a solid foundation built of gory, satisfying kills, an intriguing mythology, interesting villains and a strong protagonist. Thankfully, Ready Or Not succeeds in having these four pillars firmly set and will not disappoint horror/thriller/dark comedy fans looking for a violent good time.
A wickedly funny, bloody and biting satire on family and the rich, Ready Or Not may not change the game for the genre but certainly presents one of the better offerings of the year with a standout performance from newcomer Samara Weaving.