Anyone married understands that in-laws are not the easiest thing in the world to deal with. The next time you are struggling with your in-laws, I invite you to ponder this question: Have they ever tried to sacrifice you to the devil? If they have, I recommend divorce immediately, and if they haven’t, that puts you one step ahead of new bride Grace Le Domas (Samara Weaving, The Babysitter) That is the predicament that Samara Weaving’s character finds herself in. Here she thought she was marrying into one of the predominant families in the world; little did she know that wealth comes at a cost, and she would be that cost. Ready or Not is an entertaining tale of a woman’s attempt to escape her family, on her wedding night no less, as they use old-fashioned weaponry to hunt her and eventually sacrifice her. Think of it as a parody of The Most Dangerous Game in the format of an old-style horror film.
We meet Grace on what should be the happiest day of her life. She is about to marry the love of her life, Alex Le Domas (Mark O’Brien, City On A Hill), who also happens to be part of a vast and profitable gaming empire (however, they prefer you refer to it as a dominion). However, before she can sail off into the sunset, she must win over his family, which consists of a brother who keeps hitting on her, a father who suspects her of being a gold digger, and an aunt who is just downright creepy. All normal problems to have, right? That is until you reach her most critical problem; when a new member joins the family, that member is obligated to draw a card that is transcribed with a game that the person is compelled to play. Not too farfetched that a gaming dominion family would have a special thing for games. That is until it is revealed that the game she drew was “Hide and Seek”, which has significance to the family.
Unbeknownst to Grace, the game she drew is code for a mandatory human sacrifice lest something horrible befall the entire family. So while she hides, the other family members arm themselves and prepare to track her down and perform the ritual. If it hadn’t been for a nanny being in the wrong place at the wrong time, she would have remained ignorant of her new family’s intentions. With her life in danger and unarmed, Grace must stay one step ahead of everyone and find a way to survive the night.
This was much better than I was anticipated. I expected that the best parts of the film had already been shown in the previews leading up to the film’s release. Though there were parts of the film that were spoiled due to this disclosure, there was still enough material to keep the film entertaining and interesting. Samara Weaving gave a great performance in her first time acting as lead actress in a feature film. As our window into this world, I was along for the ride with her as she undergoes a rollercoaster of emotions regarding her situation. She proves her resourcefulness several times over and willingness to endure pain in order to survive. She was my champion, and I was rooting for her. The aspect that I wasn’t expecting her to be was funny. Her interaction with a knock-off OnStar employee is unquestionably one of the best scenes in the movie.
Adam Brody was the other standout for this movie as the brother-in-law. Though the performance was most likely just a weather deviation of the character he is most famous for (Seth Cohen), he brings levity into what could easily have become a lackluster thriller. Unlike a majority of the rest of the cast, which for the most part is one-dimensional, his character actually experiences remorse regarding the family’s actions. Though he is willing to go along with the plan, he shows disdain for the family’s practices. For me, he was the true star of the film with the exception of Weaving. He helps propel the story forward. On a side note, I was hoping for witty dialog from Melanie Scrofano, who is one of best things going on SyFy’s Wynonna Earp. I get that she was expected to play a ditz, but this is a bit backwards in my opinion; it is damn near impossible to play the ditz after showing yourself as a confident and badass individual years prior. I guess I will just have to stick with her show, which should be coming back on air soon.
The film moves at a steady and consistent pace, keeping the balance between action and humor. The twist towards the film’s climax was thoroughly predictable and only served to diminish a character that up until that point was well received. I doubt that this film will win the box office, but those who go to see it are likely to have an enjoyable time, as I did just that.