Samara Weaving is a long way from ‘Summer Bay’ in horror-comedy Ready or Not as she readies herself to marry into the disgustingly rich Le Domas family.
Growing up in the foster system, all Grace (Weaving) has ever wanted is to be part of a real family, but she’s gotten more than she bargained for with the Le Domas’s. With a family fortune amassed from a board game empire, Grace’s in-laws believe two things – that she is classic gold-digger, and that if she pulls a certain cursed card during their traditional games-night after the wedding, they will have to kill her before sunrise to prevent their own demise.
Grace, of course, pulls the dreaded ‘Hide and Seek’ card and skips off to secrete herself away in their shadowing mansion, thinking that her new extended family will be out searching for her once they count to one hundred. In actual fact, they are arming themselves with archaic weapons and preparing to hunt her down and complete the sadistic ritual. As Grace quickly cottons onto the gory gist of the game, she abandons all semblance of decorum and fights for her life.
The film delights in destroying the delicate white wedding gown with every jump scare and violent tussle. Weaving is beyond impressive in this well-produced film and deftly works with the rather limiting script to flesh out a character that the audience can instantly warm to. Her screaming will leave your ears ringing and heart pounding, but the excessive swearing seems staged and almost self-conscious, slightly detracting from the authenticity she strives so hard to create.
The premise of the film is simple and while the explanation of the legend behind the curse is a bit hard to follow, Ready or Not does not shy away from embracing the entertainment a solid plot can provide. There are no complicated side plots or long-winded exposition – just good old horror fun.
Although Weaving is undoubtedly the star of Ready or Not, her fellow castmates deserve to be applauded. It’s not an easy feat to portray caricatures with finesse and nuance. The patriarch of the La Domas family, Tony (Henry Czerny), is over-zealous and disturbingly enthusiastic. Andie MacDowell is excellent as his haughty, two-faced wife Becky and their adult children – drunk Daniel (Adam Brody), pill-popping Emilie (Melanie Scrofano) and Grace’s new husband Alex (Mark O’Brien) all riff off each other in classic sibling style. Kristian Bruun is unforgettable as the hapless son-in-law Fitch Bradley attempting to wrangle a crossbow and Elyse Levesque is positively frightening as the blood-hungry wife of Daniel. Scene-stealer Aunt Helene (Nicky Guadagni) manages to create a macabre albeit humorous presence which successfully permeates throughout the film.
With plenty of guts and gore, fast-paced action and enough suspense to keep you on the edge of your seat, the film is surprisingly entertaining. Ready or Not draws more laughs than screams, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Seventeen different versions of Grace’s wedding dress were created by costume designer Avery Plewes to show the progress of Grace’s night and how her clothes correspond to her attitude.