Directed by: Matt Bettinelli-Olpin & Tyler Gillett
Written by: Guy Busick & R. Christopher Murphy
Starring: Samara Weaving, Adam Brody, Mark O’Brien, Henry Czerny, Andie McDowell, Nicky Guadagni
Getting to know one’s in-laws can be a chore to some, but this film takes that feeling to another level. Raw, hilarious, and with a not-so-subtle message, Ready or Not ticks all of the boxes of a fun action-horror story.
Very excited to marry into her new family, Grace (Samara Weaving) learns that it’s part of the family tradition to play a game before officially being part of the group. She believes it to be quirky, but loves playing games. As they all gather, she draws a card that indicates which game will be played and she gets “Hide and Seek.” Grace receives the instructions that she must avoid being found until dawn or she loses. Thinking it all to be fun, she hides but soon finds out that if she’s found, the family members will kill her.
Games are a part of family life, at least in my experience. They tend to get very competitive but this family takes it to another level. The whole idea behind the games comes from the family fortune and how they accumulated it. The patriarch of the family, Victor Le Domas made a pact with someone named Le Bail that if they continue the tradition of inducting a new member to the family, then they would remain rich. It’s a tradition they have continued to follow for generations because of the fear of what would happen should they fail to keep the pact. The funniest aspect of this tradition is that they must use the hunting objects Victor Le Domas utilized in his time. Therefore, instead of guns, they have to use crossbows, swords, and axes. The way these instruments are used creates some of the best moments.
It all comes down to the family portrayed by a rag-tag group of individuals. There’s Grace’s husband, Alex (Mark O’Brien) and his brother Daniel (Adam Brody). It also includes Alex’s parents, aunt, sister, and her husband, and Daniel’s wife. Each of them with varying levels of investment to the completion of this tradition. This whole hunting process goes to show just how incapable these rich individuals are in carrying out any tasks. Including one who receives a crossbow and he has no idea how to operate one, resorting to looking up videos on the Internet for guidance. All of the incidental deaths in the story have such a resoundingly funny impact and come at some of the most unexpected times.
Ready or Not also serves as a showcase for Samara Weaving as one of the upcoming “Scream Queens” in the horror genre. She does a tremendous job in this role, showing someone whose foundation cracks as she realizes what she just got herself into. She plays well into the comedic moments as well as the instances where she needs to scream and run away. A complete revelation and it’s easy to connect to the character because she refrains from making terrible decisions. It serves almost like a trope for characters in these types of films to make the worst decisions, thus making audiences care less for them. Grace has no experience in trying to survive from hunters, yet uses her natural instincts to avoid danger for as long as she can.
With all the splashes of blood and comedic moments, this film has a message about how rich people see others they believe are below them and the vile things they do to sustain their riches. As explained before, it seems like they made a deal with the devil, as they have to murder people to hang on to their fortune. Also, it’s important to mention that the game “Hide and Seek” is the only one of the games that result in murder. It’s pointed out by one of the in-laws that they played a minor game ane once it’s over they all went to bed. Some family members hate having to carry out this obligation but are willing to do it because it ensures the continuance of their lifestyle. It makes you think how easily that translates to the real world in the non-violent ways the most affluent treat people to maintain their status. Doing it in this style adds some thrills and chuckles along the way.
The story gets absurd throughout, but that’s the tone set from the very beginning. More reveals occur and leads to one of the most epic endings that I never thought would occur. As a whole, it’s really a fun time that would be great to watch with other people, which can provide some interesting talking points to mull over afterward or maybe play a game of “Hide and Seek”