Spunky heroine turns tables on brutal murderers during an epically awkward family get together isn’t exactly a new idea for a energetic horror movie. Hell, Adam Wingard practically perfected it with 2011’s superlative You’re Next, but with the arrival of the entertaining horror/thriller/comedy (hor-ill-omedy?) Ready Or Not we now have a partner movie for a cracking double bill.
Grace is about to marry into the disgustingly wealthy La Domas family who gave made their vast fortune in the world of gaming. However, on what should be her wedding night she is invited to partake in a secret family tradition where she has to pull a card from a special box and whatever game is written on it is what they have to play. Instead of getting checkers or old maid like some of the others present who married into the family, poor Grace draws hide and seek which means the family tools up with rifles and bows and have until sunrise to bring her down and sacrifice her to satan. And you thought YOUR wedding reception was hard work…
As it slowly dawns on Grace something is at stake here that is far more important than remembering her vows and that it’s now far more likely that someone catches a bullet to the face than a boquet, she is forced to fight back at a rich pampered family as comically unprepared for this murderous outcome as she is (one even watches a YouTube instruction video on how to shoot a crossbow). As the blood starts to flow and time rapidly ticks away, both sides in this fatal game of cat and mouse get ever more ruthless in surviving the night but exactly whose side is Alex, Grace’s brand spanking new husband on and is the La Domas family REALLY in league with the devil or is it simply a case of the rich being weird? I mean REALLY weird.
So essentially what we have here is Downton Stabby: an upstairs downstairs murderthon that’s steeped in the class divide and is brutally very funny. Keeping the dial set on “gruesome farce” it forges a nicely satisfying tale loaded with great running jokes (it doesn’t pay to be a servant when everyone is running around shooting at shadows) that doesn’t out stay it’s welcome or over eggs it’s fun premise.
Henry Czerny, Adam Brody and Andie McDowell are but three of the actors making the La Domas clan smarmily booable (extra points for the coked up sister too) but it’s Samara Weaving (Hugo’s niece) as Grace that is the lynchpin that makes the whole thing work. A hugely appealing aussie who has scored bit parts in Three Billboards and Ash Vs. Evil Dead (she got chewed up by a cabin in that one), not to mention the lead in Netflix’s The Babysitter; she may have finally hit upon a star making turn. As the victimized Grace not only does she have a perky down-to-earthness you need where you lead is hunted with rifles (check out her adorable snort when she laughs) but her years of getting soaked in fake haemoglobin has pretty much destined her to be an iconic horror “final girl”. The image of her in sneakers, a tattered, filthy wedding dress and clutching an elephant gun and sporting an ammo belt loaded with bullets the size of Andre The Giant’s thumb is an indelible horror image of suprising potency and her sheer grit and determination to not become a human sacrifice let’s her absorb Bruce Cambell levels of on screen punishment (watch the bit with the nail and the bullet wound without flinching, I dare you).
The only thing that counts against this movie is that a fair amount of the very amusing carnage already popped up in the trailer so the film maybe isn’t quite as balls to the wall crazy as you’d hoped but this is still top notch fun with a memorably mental pay off and a killer final line.
Ready Or Not is a game that’s a vast amount of fun to play and all involved totally deserve to be allowed to roll again…