I cannot believe I’m writing this, because in the past few years I have disavowed horror films, but READY OR NOT is as funny as it is
horrific --- and I loved it! Normally, I would take a pass, but I was so intrigued by the trailer, and Samara Weaving’s screen presence, that I had to see it.
READY OR NOT absolutely is a dark comedy --- thriller --- bloodbath --- directed by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett. The screenplay by Guy Busick and R. Christopher Murphy is taut, fast-paced and pretty much over-the-top. Bettinelli-Olpin and Gillett manage to maintain the crazy pacing throughout, never getting bogged down for a moment in the gory violence.
Poor Grace (Weaving), all she wanted was a family and to be loved. She spent her early life in foster homes and thought she had found all that she desired in Alex Le Domas (Mark O’Brien), a scion of the uber-wealthy, eccentric Le Domas “dominion”. Though Alex had broken away from his domineering mother, Becky (Andie MacDowell) and father, Tony (Henry Czerny), he returns to the fold to marry the love of his life, Grace.
Unfortunately, each new member of this odd family must endure the custom of playing a game with the rest of the group on their wedding night. So instead of snuggling with her new husband, Grace finds herself participating in hide-and-seek. What she doesn’t realize, initially, is that this bunch of wackos plays for keeps. According to an age-old ritual, they must find Grace, maim her, then sacrifice her, or they will be doomed. Alex has been detained, so Grace is on her own. Will she or won’t she survive until dawn?
Weaving is perfect. Not only is she gorgeous, she’s a multi-talented actor. Her look of disbelief when she learns that she’s the target of the Le Domas family hunt is one that is very believable. She endures the night from hell, never giving in to this maniacal mob, and she never plays the role for laughs. She is deadly serious about staying alive, until that one final
twist --- but I digress. She’s a star --- watch for a great deal more from her.
From one of the first shots illustrating bizarre Aunt Helene’s (Nicky Guadagni) utter contempt for Grace --- scowling at her constantly, even during the wedding ceremony --- to the last shot, which I will not divulge, READY OR NOT is full of truly unexpected twists and turns. Besides Grace, the Aunt Helene character is my favorite. She’s bitter, nasty --- and blood thirsty. Helene wields her weapon-of-choice, a huge axe, with glee.
It’s good to see MacDowell and she’s never been better than as chain-smoking Becky, trying to guilt Alex into returning home to his family. She delivers with panache many of the best one-liners, most of them directed at her husband, Tony, who seems more concerned about his 8 a.m. tee time than saving his brood.
Adam Brody is well cast as Alex’ brother, Daniel. He is the only one besides Alex who isn’t interested in partaking in this diabolical game. But his wife, Charity (Elyse Levesque), has no qualms about the outcome she prefers. All in all, it’s a great cast. I also got a kick out of Fitch (Kristian Bruun), the son-in-law who can’t figure out how to use his cross bow. One scene has him using his phone for a tutorial.
Grace’s wedding dress is quite beautiful --- she makes a stunning bride. It does take quite a “beating” however, along with a few others in READY OR NOT. It’s gory, it’s gruesome, but there is no denying --- it’s entertaining!
Opinion: See It Now!