Ready or Not

 

27/09/19

Grace (Samara Weaving) has always wanted a family of her own. So her impending marriage to Alex (Mark O’ Brian) feels understandably like a cause for celebration – not just because she loves him madly, but because he’s a member of the prosperous Le Domas family, who have made their millions from a range of popular parlour games.

But even at the wedding, she picks up strange vibes from Alex’s parents, Tony (Henry Czerny) and Becky (Andie McDowell), and also from his decidedy odd brother, Daniel (Adam Brody).

On the evening of the wedding, after the official ceremony is over, Grace is invited into a secret room in the palatial family home to be properly ‘initiated’ into the Le Domas clan, to whom tradition is clearly all-important. Perhaps not suprisingly, in order to join their ranks, she must first play a parlour game. Grace is instructed to choose a card from a mysterious box; the one she picks has just three words written on it: Hide and Seek. She is told to conceal herself anywhere in the house and the others will attempt to find her… harmless fun, right?

Wrong.

Ready or Not is in that rare tradition of comedy horror films, comprising equal parts shudders and sniggers. It’s a genre that admittedly contains more misfires than successes but, happily, this particular contender definitely falls into the latter category. Cleverly scripted by Guy Busick and Ryan Murphy, the story galumphs along at such a frantic pace there’s never time to pause and consider how ridiculous it all is. It’s not long before poor Grace is being put through the mill – chased, stabbed, shot and bludgeoned. It’s certainly not the blissful wedding night she’s anticipated. Scenes of grisly body horror are skilfully interspersed with laugh-out-loud gags and there are enough twists and turns in the screenplay to keep us guessing right up to the very end.

Samara Weaving is surely destined to be major player in the cinema – the camera loves her and she makes Grace a determined, multi-faceted character; we’re rooting for her from the film’s opening moments. Admittedly, there isn’t a great deal of substance to this dark confection but, as a slice of pure entertainment, it’s deliciously horrible.

Those of a nervous disposition, take note: some scenes are not for the squeamish.

4.2 stars

Philip Caveney

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