Your wedding day. The most important, cherished and celebratory event you may ever have in your lifetime, aside from becoming a parent, of course. The cake is ready, the dress has been meticulously slaved over, the invitations have been sent and the flowers are primped and primed. It’s set to be a wonderful day, what could go wrong? Revelations of infidelity? A change of heart by bride or groom? Sabotage?
Well, after seeing Ready Or Not, the new horror/comedy/thriller, you’d have hoped that any of these came true given the events that transpire.
The bride, on this occasion, is Grace (Samara Weaving), who is “ready or not” for her big day, marrying fiance Alex (Mark O’Brien) under the palatial arches of his family’s luscious estate. For Alex is part of the Le Domas Family, one of America’s wealthiest and part of the gaming empire that was built generations ago, but despite the legacy, Alex seems disinterested in becoming the latest incumbent after his parents (Andie McDowell and Henry Czerny) pass.
The wedding, as it turns out, goes without a hitch until tradition comes calling: when a new member officially joins the family, they all congregate in “game room” to play a randomly chosen activity. Grace, thinking it’s all a bit of fun and a way to soften the new in-laws, reveals they are playing hide and seek but this by no means a game of simple childhood pleasures, no. Grace is the hunted, the family the hunters. Literally.
After the controversy surrounding the now cancelled release of Blumhouse’s social and economic horror The Hunt earlier this year, it’s somewhat surprising that Ready or Not wasn’t given a similarly ridiculous takedown by the powers that be for inciting violence and anarchy in civilisation, as well as it’s many jabs at the rich white upper class society that has ensconced much of America (and the UK) in recent years, heck, decades. But be thankful it has survived because not only is it a brilliantly constructed satire and angry response to the aforementioned state of the West in the present day, it’s an absolute hoot and will hopefully ruffle some feathers in the best way possible.
By way of Jordan Peele‘s superb Get Out and Adam Wingard‘s equally-impressive You’re Next, Ready Or Not‘s mix of the political and the entertaining is beautifully balanced and brilliantly delivered by co-directors Marc Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett who continue to impress in genre films, with previous efforts Southbound and Devil’s Due. But what makes RON stand above many others of a similar ilk is its playfulness. It knows its concept is “out there” but if you’re gonna do it, go for broke and that’s exactly how this one goes, and proves the perfect weapon in which to jab at the heart of the injustices of 2019.
All round the performances are universally ace but its lead Samara Weaving who stands out most. A tricky role to pull off, Grace is equally bemused and shocked at the beginning but as her fighting spirit and anger comes to the fore, she explodes off the screen with a fearless and powerful performance that is oh-so impressive.
While it sags just a tad during the mid-section, Ready or Not is a truly brilliant film that does so much in such a short space of time that you’ll wonder how it finished so quickly. Come for the blood, humour and satire, stay for Weaving’s magnificent central turn.
Scott J.Davis | [rating=4]
Horror, Comedy | USA, 2019 | 18 | 25th September 2019 (UK) | Fox Searchlight | Dir.Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, Tyler Gillett | Samara Weaving, Adam Brody, Mark O’Brien, Andie MacDowell, Henry Czerny