Getting hitched is a crazy big commitment but the bride in ‘Ready or Not’ is letting herself into a commitment that’s just plain crazy. This flick is a darkly humourous horror that escalates to hellishly entertaining peaks.
Grace (Samara Weaving) has married Alex (Mark O-Brien) and is now part of the lavish Le Domas estate; one founded on money-making games. After their vows, Grace is told to join her new family at midnight to choose a card and play til dawn. The unfortunate news is that her selection is hide and seek; where everyone is out to find her and sacrifice her before the sun rises.
Games within the horror genre are a tried, tested and mostly failed thematic, lest we forget the atrocity of ‘Truth or Dare’, but this movie flips the trope upside down and inside out, and any dusty expectations are blown clean away. Guy Busick and R. Christopher Murphy have paired up to forge a furiously fun script bristling with spikes of murderous terror.
Gathering together a group of wealthy a-holes makes the more grounded personality of Grace that much more likable and also has you laughing at the exploits and grisly exits of rich wrong-uns. It’s true to say this movie is never out and out scary and doesn’t stump for the jump-scare tactic but this only helps to enforce what a brilliantly effective creation it is. The crimson soaked tension is exercised masterfully with bursts of humour and attacks of flinch-worthy gore.
Going along, the film seems to take sick pleasure in giving Grace a new lease of life only for her dreams and wedding dress to grow more soiled and ruined. The constant push and pull of her almost escaping, then being cornered into possible doom is always engaging and hypes the plot with a fresh, crisp punch of giddy gruesomeness.
Goodness gracious, Samara Weaving is a stunning force of delight through the entirety of ‘Ready or Not’. She possesses this unquestionable magnetic presence, as if her ever-shifting facial expressions and retorts to her crazy night hypnotise you into the film. Weaving heroically ploughs through the bloody onslaught of her in-laws demented tradition, like Bruce Campbell in ‘The Evil Dead’ or Alison Lohman in ‘Drag Me to Hell’. Obviously these are both Sam Raimi productions and this 2019 movie does feel like the latter tinged with ‘You’re Next’ and ‘Game Night’ and your sister when she’s hell bent on destroying you at Monopoly.
Giving just a bit more explanation to the concept behind the Le Domas gaming madness and to why Alex even has her stay, when he knows what could be on the cards feels like it could have helped round out the conviction of the story. The finale might also be a moment too outlandish for some but I found it to be a joyful explosion of revenge revelry.
Grace is a hoot, magnificently portrayed by a star who, shall no doubt keep on shining. The purity of marriage and stuffy families are swiftly knocked on their head to have audiences gleefully led down the aisle of foul-mouthed, bloody delirium.