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“Ready Or Not” Is A Horror Comedy Riot

A little out of nowhere, Ready or Not has gotten on the radar of the film community. A few months ago, a trailer dropped and really caught some interest on the internet. Well, having seen the movie last month, I can vouch for it being worth all the presumed fuss. Not only is the flick a really fun little horror offering, it’s also arguably one of the funniest films of 2019. It’s literally a riot, with one of the best endings of the year, genre be damned. If you have a predilection for dark humor, this is going to be your jam in a big way.

The movie is a genre hybrid, set on what should be the happiest day in the life of our protagonist Grace (Samara Weaving). She’s marrying Alex Le Domas (Mark O’Brien), the love of her life. Beyond that, she’s now entering into the Le Domas family (her fiancé and now husband calls it “the Le Domas dominion”), an eccentric clan of massively wealthy game designers. Both Alex as well as brother in law Daniel (Adam Brody) seem to jokingly warn her off, but soon, she’ll realize why. The family requires that any new member play a game at midnight after their wedding. For most, it’s chess or something normal. If the player pulls Hide and Seek, however, a much more dangerous game begins. Of course, Grace pulls that card, setting her off on a fight for survival, hunted by her new father in law Tony (Henry Czerny), mother in law Becky (Andie MacDowell), and other family members. As she attempts to stay alive, the Le Domas brood bickers amongst themselves, leading to some very fun surprises. Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett direct a screenplay from Guy Busick and Ryan Murphy, with cinematography from Brett Jutkiewicz, as well as a score by Brian Tyler. Supporting players include Kristian Bruun, Nicky Guadagni, Elyse Levesque, John Ralston, Melanie Scrofano, and more.

This is a black comedy, almost more so than it is a horror flick. So much of the comedy is rooted in how bad the family is at this game. They’re rich, the upper crust of society, heads of a massive gaming empire and owners of multiple sports franchises. What do they know about murder? They can’t handle their weapons, many of them don’t want to do this, and often they look for excuses. Two of the funniest parts of the movie are how they keep accidentally killing their help (it plays funnier than it reads), as well as a discussion of if that can count as the sacrifice they believe they need to make. It’s a riot.

Ready or Not is the kind of film that constantly surprises you. Especially…the ending. Without saying what happens, it’s not what you’d expect at all. Between that and the star making turn from Samara Weaving, the project does so much right. Scribes Guy Busick and Ryan Murphy, along with co-directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett, take a simple premise and find so many little ways to upend expectations. At the same time, they know how to give you exactly what you want from this story. It’s the sort of calling card work that should get them all bigger genre work in short order.

This week, anyone who likes their comedy and horror to be mixed will be in for a delightfully nasty treat when Ready or Not opens up. With a compelling lead turn, effective supporting work, and inspired filmmaking, it checks off all the boxes for a success. Weaving is going to be a star, mark my words, but even beyond her work, this is just a richly sick and twisted film that will thrill those in the right mindset. For me, it’s not only one of the most effective fright flicks of 2019 so far, it’s among the year’s best comedies. How often can you say that?

Be sure to check out Ready or Not, in theaters everywhere on Wednesday!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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