What better way is there to welcome someone new into your family than with a game? For the Le Domas family, there is none. After all, it is especially fitting considering that this family has made an extremely big fortune over the production of games, be it card games or board games, so these guys are literally game for anything.
Only that our newly minted bride and protagonist, Grace (Samara Weaving) soon finds out that drawing the rare Hide and Seek card from the deck is anything but fun and games with the Le Domas. Hide and Seek? More like Hide or You Will Die.
This interesting welcome ritual on the night of her wedding to Alex Le Domas (Mark O’Brien) sets the tone in Fox Searchlight Picture’s latest horror-comedy Ready or Not, where Grace finds herself in a deadly game of cat and mouse at the mercy of gun-toting and knife-wielding relatives in the expansive Le Domas mansion, where a single wrong step could lead to her death.
It is clear from the start where the movie shines best, in its sense of dark humour and impeccably gorgeous set designs. Each character has moments where they deliver brilliant moments, and one of the best is when incredibly grouchy Aunt Helene says, while scowling, “Brown-haired niece, you continue to exist.” She is clearly a fountain of love and joy. Needless to say, the cinema erupted into peals of laughter with that one line.
There were other moments of pure genius, such as one character hiding in the toilet to YouTube tutorial videos on how to operate a crossbow, and how utterly inept some characters are at being murderers. However, when the movie wants to get down to business, it is more than capable of having an intense scene rife with tension, that had us on the edge of our seats as we watch Grace try to outwit and outrun the Le Domas.
Speaking of Grace, she is easily the star of the whole movie and the figurative glue that holds it all together. It was clear from her previous showing in 2017 horror-comedy The Babysitter that Samara Weaving is more than capable of holding her own in a movie. While it took Grace a while to come to terms with the deadly game she got herself in, once she steadies herself and goes all out in trying to survive, boy does she really go all out. Never mind a gaping wound through her palm or a gash along her back, as long as she makes it out of this mansion alive, all will be okay.
Another aspect of the movie we really liked was how none of the characters is trying their best to murder Grace for the fun of it. They all genuinely believe that they have to kill Grace to subvert a curse placed on them generations ago by the enigmatic Mr Le Bail, to whom they owe their incredibly good fortune too.
The directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett, and scriptwriters Guy Busick and R. Christopher Murphy, have also done a good job of balancing the odds in this deadly game of Hide and Seek. Grace might be a one-man team escaping from everyone in the Le Domas Dominion (as they like to refer to themselves), but the Le Domas are almost laughably inept at killing her, which inevitably results in a number of accidental kills that are somehow funny to watch.
In their defence, the Hide and Seek card is one that the patriarch of the family, Tony Le Domas (Henry Czerny), admits is rarely picked, hence they were all either terribly out of practice or have never participated in this deadly game before. Still, it is funny to see them fumble around trying to catch Grace.
The movie does try to make a commentary on the filthy rich and how different they are from the rest of society, but fails to be truly deep in any way. Instead, most of its commentary is laid out in the open, with characters spouting phrases such as, “It’s true, the rich are different.” However, a movie does not need to be thought-provoking to be an entertaining one and that is what Ready or Not still manages to be.
Considerable praise has to also be given to the set design in this movie. With most of the movie taking place in the vast halls of the Le Domas mansion. From the portraits on the wall to the furniture chosen, every aspect looks as immaculate as you would expect a mansion belonging to the upper one percent of society to be.
Where the movie falters, however, is in its third act. It felt as though the director was not entirely as to how best to end the movie, and so he just decided to have it go out with a bang. Quite literally. Some of the choices the characters ended up making towards the end of the third act was also a major source of disappointment, especially when they have spent a majority of the movie having the characters act a certain way, and believe in a certain cause, only to have it all not matter in the end.
Despite that, we have to reiterate that the movie is never boring. The pacing of the movie from start to end was pretty immaculate. No scenes were needlessly dragged out and the directors did not take their time getting from the initial wedding scene to the true meat of this story that was the hide and seek game which is great for movie-goers.
All in all, Ready or Not is a wonderful game of cat and mouse starring Samara Weaving and other great actors who gave great performances throughout. It works as both a dark comedy as well as a horror movie, but fails in truly developing and fully fleshing out its characters on screen. We highly recommend you to watch this if for nothing else than to see Samara Weaving being the badass that she is while in a torn up and bloodied wedding dress.
Ready or not, here she comes.
GEEK REVIEW SCORE
An entertaining game of hide and seek where losing the game means losing your life. Now if only the third act was just as good as the first two.
Story - 7/10
Direction - 7.5/10
Characterisation - 7.5/10
Geek Satisfaction - 8.5/10