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READY OR NOT gets 7.5/10 Bride and seek


Directed by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, Tyler Gillett

Starring Samara Weaving, Adam Brody, Mark O’Brien, Andie MacDowell, Henry Czerny

7.5/10

Grace (Samara Weaving) realises that marrying into the ultra wealthy Le Domas family might not be a fairy tale come true. Not merely due to the fact that her new husband Alex (Mark O’Brien) has been estranged from his family for many years, or by the suspicions of “gold digging” raised by her own humble origins, but by the odd sense of tradition that hangs over the illustrious family of game entrepreneurs. One of their most sacred rituals is a random game that must be played by any new addition to the family on their wedding night, in honour of the founder of the family business, and as Grace draws “hide and seek” she soon finds herself in a game where the stakes are life or death.

Ready or Not builds a rather tight little horror comedy with a wickedly dark heart. Starting as a comedy thriller set at a somewhat uncomfortable family wedding, it soon finds its footing and builds up speed, as Grace is forced to flee for her life. Similarly the violence and gore ramps its way up, till by the end it hits fountains of blood that would have Sam Raimi (Evil Dead) grinning. Along the way Ready or Not will have audience squirming, jumping out their seats, and laughing hysterically as it strikes the perfect balance between the frights and quips.

It’s that tight structure and no nonsense approach that makes Ready or Not. There’s little screen time wasted that’s not either building tension, working a joke, or exploring character relations. It rapidly builds that framework, then lets the characters loose for the hunt, using the comedic elements for tension relief and some rather damning social commentary on the effects of the growing callous divide in equity. It might not be doing anything vastly innovative in its “hunting the most dangerous game” central concept, or its Agatha Christie like locked mansion setting, but Ready or Not executes it well.

A lot is down to the panache of Weaving’s (SMILF) central performance. Weaving brings a quirkiness to Grace, that soon hardens into a no nonsense Final Girl, willing to tear strips off her wedding dress, grab an elephant gun off the wall, and lock and load. Grace never quits, constantly finding a way through every obstacle placed in her path by her not entirely competent, but extremely enthusiastic hunters. She also manages to bring a comic exasperation to the role, perfectly expressing the frustration and disbelief of the ludicrous and deadly situation she finds herself in.

Gory, satirically biting, and with a great central performance, Ready or Not is a rather enjoyable horror comedy that takes careful aim at the 1%.

DAVID O’CONNELL

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