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ready or not

T&L Reviews: Ready or Not

Our film critic, Ben Peyton, reviews comedy-horror-thriller, Ready or Not

Director: Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett

Starring: Samara Weaving, Adam Brody, Mark O’Brien, Henry Czerny, Andie MacDowell, Melanie Scrofano, Kristian Bruun, Nicky Guadagni, Elyse Levesque and John Ralston

⭐⭐⭐⭐

On the day of her wedding to Alex (O’Brien), Grace (Weaving) is given the opportunity to walk away from her intimidating family-to-be. She doesn’t. And why would she? She’s hopelessly in love with her future husband and is determined to win over the in-laws who believe Alex is marrying beneath himself.

Ceremony complete, Alex reveals that when someone new joins his family it’s tradition for them to take part in a game at the stroke of midnight. This could be anything from checkers to chess or even croquet. Tony (Czerny), the head of the dynasty, explains the whys and wherefores of this custom and how they made their fortune with the help of a mysterious benefactor and an antique games box. Using the box, Grace selects a game at random, Hide-and-seek, not realising that the Le Domas’s believe themselves to be cursed and that their very survival depends on finding Grace and performing a Satanic ritual before dawn. If they fail, they die. And so begins a 90 minute hunt full of scares, grisly deaths and pithy one-liners in one of the most original and entertaining films of the year.

ready or not

Holding the movie together and destined to become a scream queen icon in her blood splattered wedding dress and converse trainers, Samara Weaving’s Grace is instantly likeable and brings her own brand of girl-power to the wedding party. Improvising her way through the game, she finds the perfect balance of vulnerability and steely determination as she battles her way through the grim proceedings. And, boy, do they put her through it.

As she plays it straight, the ensemble around her have license to go over the top with pantomime performances, but all work because Ready or Not never takes itself too seriously and warmly embraces its comedy-horror roots. Comic relief comes in the form of inept Fitch (Bruun) and drug-fuelled Emilie (Scrofano), but all members of the freakish family have their chance to bathe in the limelight and, indeed, blood.

Brian Tyler’s score with his excellent use of strings keeps the tension screeching away nicely and Brett Jutkiewicz’s cinematography along with Bettinelli-Olpin and Gillett’s direction makes full use of the huge mansion’s secret passageways, long corridors and gothic surroundings keeping the intensity within the single location.

Ready or Not is an exciting, energetic and delightfully eccentric romp with Weaving an A-lister in the making and will certainly make you think twice about playing Trivial Pursuit the next time you’re at a family dinner.

Ready or Not is in UK cinemas now