'Ready or Not' review: Here comes the bride

A fun horror comedy with clever banter, bloodbaths galore and whacky characters to boot

Updated - September 14, 2019 03:33 pm IST

Published - September 14, 2019 12:02 pm IST

Samara Weaving in the film READY OR NOT. Photo by Eric Zachanowich. © 2019 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation All Rights Reserved

Samara Weaving in the film READY OR NOT. Photo by Eric Zachanowich. © 2019 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation All Rights Reserved

There are revenge films, comedy horrors, supernatural ones and even thrillers. Rarely does something come along that seamlessly marries all these genres in one succinct package. That’s what Ready or Not is. With its unassuming name and, let’s face it, even cast of actors, it’d be really easy to underestimate a film of this kind. But it would be a real shame to miss something so deliciously different.

The film follows a bizarre ritual followed by the Le Domas family, an obscenely wealthy American family who are closet Satanists, followers of a certain Mr La Bail. Every time someone new enters the clan, through matrimony, everyone must partake in a midnight game.

Alex (Mark O'Brien) brings home Grace (Samara Weaving), a waif-like young woman who’s grown up in foster homes and yearns for the acceptance of the Le Domases. Dressed in pristine white lace almost like a princess, Grace marries Alex on the Le Domas estate. Her wedding night then, as tradition goes, turns into a bloody hunting party. Clocking in at a neat 95 minutes, Ready or Not is judiciously edited with nary a dull moment. Director duo Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett forcefully grab your attention from start to finish. The two take Guy Busick and R. Christopher Murphy’s eccentric screenplay and heighten its madness to another extreme. The effect is so well-rounded, that even the film’s humour is a breath of fresh air, sneaking sarcasm in discreetly enough to tickle you pink. The directors’ sleight of hand is most evident in Ready or Not ’s shifts in genre, from comedy to horror – perfectly congruent and never jarring.

As a hazard to recently watching Sarita Khurana and Smriti Mundhra’s A Suitable Girl , its evident how marriage is more about the in-laws than a spouse. Where the documentary draws light on how women succumb to their fate, Ready or Not , does the opposite. In a scene where Grace fiercely rips off the skirting of her wedding dress, it’s as if she refuses to be shackled by the expectations of what her new family demands. Of course it’s the performances that amplify a great story. From junkie Emilie (Melanie Scrofano), a spoiled daddy’s girl who literally gets away with murder by accidentally killing the help more than once, to Becky (Andie MacDowell), the warm but psychotic matriarch. But it’s scream queen Weaving who is spectacular throughout, transforming from a demure bride into something unrecognisable by the end. Last but not least, a special shout-out to the film’s gore, without which, Ready or Not would be just another clever genre-bending attempt. The copious blood, sweat and vomit incorporated gives this film an extra edge, one that stays with you long after the credits roll. Come with whatever expectations you might have, but leave knowing that Ready or Not will surpass them all.

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