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Review: ‘Ready or Not’ is Twisted, Macabre Fun

August 21, 2019Britany Murphy

Most of us know how much fun it can be to play a game, whether it be a board game, card game or childhood game like Hide and Seek. However, in Ready Or Not, an old classic becomes a deadly affair steeped in bizarre family traditions when newly married Grace (Samara Weaving) is indoctrinated into the Le Domas gaming dynasty.

Fresh from saying their "I do's," Grace and her husband Alex (Mark O'Brien) have to spend their wedding day and night at the estate of his incredibly rich and eccentric family. But while he gets along with his brother Daniel (Adam Brody), Alex's relationship with his father Tony (Henry Czerny), mother Becky (Andie MacDowell), sister Emilie (Melanie Scrofano), sister-in-law Charity (Elyse Levesque), brother-in-law Fitch (Kristian Bruun) and aunt Helene (Nicky Guadagni) is extremely strained. When Grace sits down at midnight to draw a card from a special — perhaps even supernatural — box, she's told she must play whatever game the card dictates. And when she draws Hide and Seek, Grace laughs off the choice, believing that she and her new family are going to have a grand time playing a children's game. Of course, that is very far from the truth, and what happens next is so thrilling and blood-splattered that you won't be able to look away from it.

Weaving is great as the film's protagonist. From her line delivery to her various facial expressions and reactions to the horrors that are unfolding around her, Weaving is believable throughout the movie's entirety. Grace is the one you are rooting for as her life is crumbling around her. For what was meant to be one of the happiest moments of her life — a time where she was to find her forever family after having been part of the foster care system — has now turned into a nightmare that has her desperate to escape the Le Domas estate before her in-laws find her and kill her. During this dog-eat-dog challenge, Weaving is able to emote vulnerability, fearfulness, bravery and badassery, and it is a delight to watch.

As for the rest of the cast, MacDowell as Becky and Scrofano as Emilie are a mother-daughter duo who are equal parts funny and sweet. But whereas Becky often teeters on the verge of being intimidating, Emilie is the absolute opposite. Seemingly fun-loving and naive, Emilie has the worst luck in comparison to the other La Domas family members, but it makes for some of the film's funniest moments. Then, of course, there's Aunt Helene. Intimidating and scary, Guadagni plays the role of Alex's cold-hearted aunt to perfection; and even when she doesn't say much at all, Guadagni is able to deliver a look that can chill you to the core. Last but not least, the relationship between the father and brothers of the La Domas family is very well fleshed-out, with Brody playing the role of older brother Daniel to perfection. Always defending and helping his younger brother, Daniel knows he is certainly not his father's favorite. Yet, how far is he willing to go to change that?

Directed by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett, Ready Or Not blends horror and comedy effortlessly to give the audience a great viewing experience. From start to finish, the movie pulls you in, dealing with such themes as family and tradition while also poking fun at the elite and the lengths some of them will go to in order to keep their fame and fortune. With a great script and an intriguing cast of characters, the end result will most definitely have you side-eyeing any future family events that involve your in-laws.

Ready or Not releases August 21st, 2019 from Fox Searchlight Pictures. The film has an MPAA rating of R for violence, bloody images, language throughout, and some drug use. Its runtime is 1 hr. 35 min.

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