Ready Or Not
Updated: Aug 28, 2020
A Dark Comedy About Deadly In-Laws
Streaming on HBO Max | 2019 | R | 1h 35m
Genre: Dark Comedy, Horror Why We Watched: The trailer for this one hooked me from the get-go. An Instagramable wedding followed by a Most Dangerous Game–style hunt for the bride, featuring Andi MacDowell and a sardonic Adam Brody... I mean, sign me up! It looked amazing! I had every intention of catching this one in theaters, but one thing led to another last summer and I tragically missed it. (Promises to never take movie theaters for granted ever again!)
You Might Also Like: Ready or Not is Knives Out turned up to eleven. Streaming on Amazon Prime, the latter follows a detective as he investigates the death of a renowned crime novelist—who happens to be the patriarch of a wealthy and kind of terrible family. Directed by Rian Johnson and featuring an A-list cast (Daniel Craig, LaKeith Stanfield, Toni Collette, Jamie Lee Curtis, Chris Evans, Christopher Plummer...!), Knives Out is a whodunnit for the modern era.
Soul-sucking greed, inbred family values, overly aestheticized wedding vibes—Ready or Not is a blood-soaked takedown of the absurdity of wealth and inheritance. It was far gorier than I expected, but the caustic humor kept me up through the final scene. I love dark comedies, especially when they feature an underdog protagonist. Enter Grace (Samara Weaving), an orphan from a disadvantaged upbringing. She can't wait to marry Alex (Mark O'Brien), not for his money but because she's desperate to finally have a family. But Alex does have money. A whole lot of money. Although he's estranged from his parents and siblings—and as the movie's prologue suggests, he has a very good reason to be!—Alex is one of the heirs to a board-game dynasty. ("We prefer 'dominion,' " he tells Grace jokingly.) The wedding goes off smoothly, so while it seems a little annoying that Alex's family interrupts her wedding night to make her play a game, Grace isn't too worried about the initiation. Little does she know, though, that her life will depend on how well she can Hide-and-Seek. From the minute the family begins to arm themselves with crossbows, axes, and revolvers while Grace unknowingly hides, the movie is off at a break-neck pace. You will be on the edge of your seat for the last hour-and-a-half of the film in the best way. The family member ensemble is made up of ridiculously terrible people—Alex's coked-up sister (who keeps accidentally killing the help), his gold-digging sister-in-law, bloodthirsty nephews, and cold-hearted demon-worshipping father. But Grace's murderous mother-in-law (played by an evil Andie MacDowell) might be the absolute worst. She's welcoming her new daughter one minute, shooting an arrow at her the next! Alex's brother, played by a tormented Adam Brody with too-few lines, is the only potentially redeemable one of the lot. Weaving's phenomenal performance gives the class satire its sting. She plays Grace as vulnerable but also as tough and authentic. While she yearns for acceptance and belonging, the minute the first bullet flies she springs into action, arming herself against the cartoonish and cash-flush villains. She's scrappy because she's always had to be, reminding us that wealth is often paid for by the suffering of others. This movie is so much better than I could have imagined. It made me wish I had the opportunity to rip up a wedding dress, lace up my sneaks, and wield a shotgun. I laughed, grimaced, and yelped (just a little!). Hands down, one of my favorite movies of the summer. Happy screaming! Liz