The rich really are different.” – Daniel Le Domas

From the creators of horror phenomenon V/H/S, comes a classic new horror tale that you won’t forget so easily. In ‘Ready or Not‘, we meet Grace (Samara Weaving), who just joined the Le Domas-dominion, by marrying the family’s youngest son Alex (Mark O’Brien). Excited as every newlywed should be on their wedding night, she gets ready for a “bone-a-thon” with her husband, until she notices grumpy aunt Helene (Nicky Guadagni) spying on them from a dark corner. Scared and confused, Grace heads down with her man, where she gets invited to participate in an old family-tradition.

Alex’s lovely mother (played by Southern Belle, Andie MacDowell) tries to figure out what Grace exactly sees in her son. When Grace explains how she grew up in foster families and always wanted a big family like theirs, mother-in-law Becky seems a lot more at ease, than when her older son Daniel (Adam Brody) married the gold digging Charity (Elyse Levesque). Late to the party, are sister-in-law Emilie (Melanie Scrofano), husband Fitch (Kristian Bruun) and their two sons. Now the family is complete, they can put their game faces on. With the little brats now tucked into bed, the adults gather around the family table and Grace gets a quick lesson in Le Domas-history and how they got into the whole board game business. Grace gets to pick a card, on which is written which deadly game they’ll be playing tonight. ‘Hide and Seek’ it is. While an innocent Grace, assumes she’ll be spending her wedding night in the dumbwaiter, dad puts on ‘The Hide and Seek’-song and the entire family gears up with crossbows and rifles, ready for a night of hunting.

The clever, witty and extremely hilarious screenplay comes from Guy Busick and Ryan Murphy (not that Ryan Murphy), who are pretty new to the writing game. These guys know how to set up a film, keep momentum going with batshit crazy violence and end it all with a bang of a finale. Directing duo Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett seem to know exactly what they’re doing, blending horror with top notch comedy. Combine this with Brett Jutkiewicz‘s gritty cinematography and Brian Tyler‘s orchestraic score, and you have a pretty darn good film right in front of you.

All the behind-the-scenes work would be for nothing, if we didn’t have a cast who’s having the time of their life. Samara Weaving (The Babysitter) is an absolute blast as the bride running for her life – still wearing her (now shredded) wedding dress and Converse, covered in blood most of the time. This scream queen is drop-dead-gorgeous and brings the most wicked whimsical energy to the screen. Her screams slice through bones. Her on screen lover, played by O’Brien (Arrival) knows how to counterbalance her energy and is there to back up a strong woman. Like they say “behind every strong woman…”, you know the drill.

Supporting cast has some true acting legends in their midst. Andie MacDowell (Groundhog Day) and Henry Czerny (Mission: Impossible) as Mrs. and Mr. Le Domas are absolute dynamite. MacDowell plays a more calm and absolutely lovely mother, yet protective of her family when she has to be, while Czerny’s Mr. Le Domas knows what’s at stake and start to lose his patience while throwing F-bombs, getting on his wife’s nerves. Adam Brody (Shazam!), Melanie Scrofano (Wynonna Earp), Kristian Bruun (Orphan Black) and John Ralston (Bitten), each bring their A-game, but it’s Nicky Guadagni who steals every scene she’s in, as the ever-grumpy Aunt Helene.

Ready or Not‘ is a side-splitting massacre that’s delightful as the night is grim, with a brilliantly exuberant cast. You’ll want to show this to your friends and rewatch it, over and over again. “Do you think this is a fucking game?”

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Review – ‘Ready or Not’

Reviewed at Event Cinemas Gold Class, Sydney, Oct. 21, 2019. (20th Century Fox Early Media Screening) CBA-rating: MA15+. Running time: 95 min.

PRODUCTION: A 20th Century Fox release of a Fox Searchlight, Mythology Entertainment and Vinson Films production. Producers: Bradley J. Fischer, William Sherak, James Vanderbilt, Tripp Vinson. Executive producers: Daniel Bekerman, Chad Villella.

CREW: Directors: Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, Tyler Gillett. Screenplay: Guy Busick, Ryan Murphy. Camera (color, widescreen): Brett Jutkiewicz. Editor: Terel Gibson. Music: Brian Tyler.

WITH: Samara Weaving, Adam Brody, Mark O’Brien, Henry Czerny, Andie MacDowell, Melanie Scrofano, Kristian Bruun, Nicky Guadagni, Elyse Levesque, John Ralston.     

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