Samara Weaving stars in a wedding night thriller, Ready or Not, which jokingly plays out an anti-marriage message. Helmed by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett (major parts of Radio Silence, the trio responsible for underrated high-concept horrors like V/H/S, Devil’s Due and Southbound) working on a dogged script by Guy Busick and Ryan Christopher Murphy, the movie blends diabolical horror-thriller with some awkward laugh. It’s a delightful treat for those looking for hide-and-seek suspense and blood-gushing slasher delights.
At the center of Ready or Not, Weaving (The Babysitter) is the bride, Grace, marrying an estranged son of wealthy La Domas family, Alex (Mark O’Brien). Unbeknownst to her, the family she marries to, which makes their money from board games, is having a strange, initiation game tradition for a new family member. What starts off as a seemingly normal hide and seek game escalates quickly into a full-rampant man-hunt game. When body counts start to pile up, Grace learns that there’s a diabolical motive behind all the game she’s been through.
Bettinelli-Olpin and Gillett gradually set up the thrilling bar—from exploring corners and confined spaces to simply let all hell break loose in the finale. In the process, Weaving in a graceful wedding gown would run and hide to avoid the unexpected killers. Some of the serious parts of the hide and seek reminds us to Fede Alvarez’s heist-gone-wrong horror, Don’t Breathe; meanwhile, most of the movie’s tone makes it as if the directors been hanging out with Adam Wingard quite a lot. Inept characters and unexpected murders become the movie’s main course as in You’re Next.
The overall tone of Ready or Not is the blood feast and the movie delivers, even with some tingling predictability. The directors’ penchant for over-the-top violence bypasses the narrative predictability with slasher spectacles that work. However, Busick and Murphy’s script has never been a liability. Ready or Not smartly plays out the dark sides of marriage and over-injects them with real horrors. In the modern world, the idea that marriage hitches two families—not just the bride and the groom—has become a distant culture; that makes stories like Crazy Rich Asians or Get Out become somehow overwhelming and eerie for some people. Having to meet strangers who would become a family is a gamble and this movie knows how to make that an explosive horror show that lasts until death do them apart.
Smart, unsettling, and blood-gushing, Ready or Not is a satisfying horror-comedy with certain kinds of odds and taste of humor. It owes Samara Weaving some self-nourishing fun. All the spectacles culminate as the dawn arises at La Domas manor, but, it’s the explosively ridiculous finale (pun intended, the scene might remind you to similarly Japanese playful horror, As the Gods Will or Seth Rogen’s series, Preacher). With the whole blood-spilled horror and the dose of fun, Ready or Not might see itself becoming a classic horror-comedy like Tucker & Dale vs. Evil has gone to prominence in the recent year.