Review: Ready or Not
Ready or Not is a doozy, as Skyler White might say, and lord knows she is an expert in family nightmares.
This darkly charming horror/thriller is fun to watch, and this comes from a reviewer not so keen on that genre.
Hold on, correction, I do like this type of scary movie. I leave the pure horror and anything involving teens sawing off their own limbs to my colleagues here at PCB who are experts on the genre(s). To me, Ready or Not falls into that Reanimator category (though on a better budget) where there are laughs and a bit of style to make the scares go down a bit easier.
Ready or Not, Grace, you’re married now
Samara Weaving, daughter of Hugo but a solid lead in her own right, stars as Grace, whom we meet on her wedding day. A confident bride, she’s not the one saying ‘let’s just run to Vegas’ – she is eager to marry her handsome, loving but a leeeetle on edge groom, Alex Le Domas (Mark O’Brien). She wants to finally have a family of her own. A scan of the well dressed wedding congregation shows they are all from the groom’s guest list, dressed to the nines but not a lot of smiles, but hey ho, on with the fancy wedding, and we all witness a lovely but somewhat… Bachelor finale tension-level ceremony taking place on the grounds of Alex’s massive family estate.
Ah, the Le Domas family. We see in a flashback (and also conveyed in very strong sets and production design) that this is one messed up family. Do they like Grace? Does she like them? Where are her friends? Where is the cheesy DJ? Would she have chosen that dress in that summer heat? All is soon irrelevant as, when the sun goes down, the game begins.
I won’t say a word about the plot after that, as going in knowing nothing served me very well. The Ready or Not script is by Guy Busick (Stan Against Evil) and R. Christopher Murphy (Minutes Past Midnight) and has a wicked sense of humor. It builds its own little world quite well. You don’t have to believe it, you just have to feel the characters do.
Meet the Le Domases
The family here (and I’m still anagramming that odd surname, surely I’ll find a dirty word) is louche brother Adam Brody, wired sister Melanie Scrofano, intense dad Henry Czerny and distractingly grotesque Auntie, a bit overplayed by Nicky Guadagni, who while annoying, does draw focus from the sometimes wooden but occasionally brilliant (in that Andie way), Andie McDowell, playing the possibly most complex character here, the Le Domas family matriarch.
La Famille Domas are alternately deranged and a little sad – and one of the reasons I liked this film was that hint of despair – but always loyal to family, to history (but just their history) and to class. The rich are different, darling. This lot feel fine, nay, obliged, to pull out all of the stops in the name of upholding historical tradition, even if it involves crossbows.
Directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett play with this “snobs are the worst” tone throughout but don’t make it their only viewpoint. They give a good sense of place in the giant mansion, keep the ball rolling, and they sure do put cheerful Grace through a wedding night more awful than Katie Holmes’ must have been. Thank goodness Weaving is fantastic here, puzzling things out, running about in her very lacy dress and keeping us on her side as she slowly loses her marbles. There is a lot of crazy here.
It’s weird, it’s witty, it’s low rent, big spooky house fun.
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A former ABC National, Dallas and Atlanta radio personality, Martina O'Boyle is now making movies and covering culture in London, Dublin, and as far in Europe as the cheapie flights will take her, for Pop Culture Beast.