Ready or Not – Film Review
by Fran Winston
Directed by: Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, Tyler Gillett
Starring: Samara Weaving, Adam Brody, Mark O’Brien, Henry Czerny, Andie MacDowell
In cinemas September 25th
Many movies poke fun at the “in-laws” and anyone who falls into that category has been the butt of jokes since the concept of marriage was invented. This takes the “joke” to a whole new level as a bride finds herself hunted by her new family on her wedding night so they can fulfil an ancient pact with a demonic figure.
Yep – it’s a horror (well it is almost Halloween) but it’s also one of the funniest films you will see this spooky season. Weaving plays Grace – a woman who spent her childhood in foster homes and so craves a family of her own. Step forward Alex (O’Brien) who is handsome and the heir to the Le Domas family fortune. He’s practically perfect in every way – except that his grandfather made a pact with a mysterious demon called Mr. Le Bail to create the family riches. As payment for this the family are expected to initiate new members with games of Le Bail’s choosing – with Hide and Seek proving a deadly option. Of course, this is the game that Grace draws and so she is forced to try and evade being killed by her new husband’s family – well at least until dawn. Seriously outnumbered and with no knowledge of the layout of the house the odds are definitely against her – if the Le Domas collective can stop bickering long enough to actually follow through on the initiation ceremony.
The plot may sound a bit hokey but it is actually great fun. Directors Bettinelli-Olpin and Gillet have wisely decided not to take the premise too seriously and as a result you feel like you are laughing with them rather than at them. Unlike many films of this genre the laughs are there deliberately rather than an unfortunate by-product of some dodgy effects or writing. In fact the script is fantastic. It is wryly knowing and perfectly balances the gore with the giggles. This has plenty of jump in your seat moments to keep the die-hard horror fans happy and one or two simply gross scenes that are a staple of low budget horror and will make your stomach churn.
It also has a fabulous cast who all embrace the premise and just run with it. Weaving is impressive as she runs the gamut of emotions, from blushing bride to betrayed wife and potential prey for her in-laws. She is well balanced by a motely crew that make up the Le Domas family and who bounce off each other brilliantly – bickering just like real families do.
Amazingly, alongside being an absolute blast this manages to have a deeper cultural critique about greed, wealth and privilege. There are few people in the audience who won’t be rooting for Grace as she pits her wits against her selfish and entitled in-laws and it will really leave you thinking about socio-economic disparity.
This is witty, entertaining, energetic, thought-provoking and has a whole lotta chutzpah! It’s a cheeky take on what could have been a standard story that will take you on a roller coaster ride. Part horror thriller, part black comedy and one hundred per cent arresting, this may well prove to be the most fun wedding you’ve never been to!