The pre-wedding jitters are more than justified in this latest horror offering from duo Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett. Set exclusively in the sprawling estate of the Le Domas family, Ready or Not sees blushing bride Grace (Samara Weaving) accepting that she’s joined a family only a few degrees removed from a Charles Addams comic strip by marrying favorite son Alex (Mark O’Brien). What she didn’t expect was the clan’s odd wedding night tradition of having any new member of the family play a game, selected at random via an old heirloom.
Drawing the seemingly benign card of hide and seek, Grace soon finds herself in a much higher stakes game than she bargained for as the family led by glib patriarch Tony (Henry Czerny) aims not only to find her, but to have her body sacrificed to the devil in order to stave off a family curse. With Alex promptly put out of commission and the servants bodies piling up due to bad luck and bad aim, Grace fights desperately to escape this funhouse of horrors while her in-laws fight equally as hard to get the bride to the sacrificial altar lest the devil claim his flesh from them instead!
With a simple yet intriguing setup, well-drawn characters and a solid script, helmers Bettinelli-Olpin and Gillett have handily delivered a satisfying bloody thriller that isn’t afraid to make you laugh even when going for the jugular. The mostly Canadian cast all shine in their eclectic roles of the disturbed Le Domas family from ice-cold Aunt Helene (Nicky Guadagni) to bumbling misfit Fitch (Orphan Black’s Kristian Bruun) to possible turncoat best man Daniel (Adam Brody) they all make their mark without clouding the storyline. It’s almost enough to make Weaving (whom I initially mistook for Margot Robbie when viewing the trailer!) seem almost dull by comparison although she certainly manages to hold her own.
While a touch sloppy in its camera work, the film is well rendered, positively dripping with appropriately anachronistic production design and making the most of its short and sweet 95 minute runtime. The tension and laughs awe well placed and combined with seamless practical and CGI bloodletting make for a gory good time.
Usually the type of film limited to the confines of your local genre film festival, Ready or Not delivers the goods in spectacular R-rated fashion (enough to make the Disney executives who inherited this show blush anyways). Time will tell if it leads to a spike in prenuptial agreements.
Ready or Not is currently screening in theatres across Canada