What an uproarious and delightful time at the movies! Ready Or Not is bloody, violent, absurd, funny and a wonderful escape from the normality of theatrical releases. It’s entertaining from start to finish and the ending will have you talking about it walking out of the theater. Ready Or Not rides its ridiculous premise all the way through and everyone involved buys in, making it a surprise smash of the summer.

Samara Weaving plays Grace, a bride who’s marrying the love of her life, Alex Le Domas, played by Mark O’Brien. The only hiccup is that the Domas family is a…strange one. The wealthy crew a major fans of tradition, and a wedding night family routine turns into a deadly game of hide-and-seek with Grace needing to fight to stay alive.

The Domas family is made up of a series of recognizable actors and actresses. Adam Brady plays the nonchalant to-cool-for-school brother of Alex. Henry Czerny plays the bombastic profanity throwing father and Andie MacDowell takes the role of the calming mother. The final Domas sibling is Charity, played by Elyse Levesque.

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The Domas Family (sans Alex)

In order for Grace to be accepted into the family, she is asked to play a game with the entire eccentric family. Alex is not a fan of the tradition, but doesn’t tell his wife about the weirdness of the situation because the odds of it turning horrendously drastic are slim-to-none. Well, what’s a movie without the insinuating moment?

The game Grace draws is hide and seek and the means the Domas family is going hunting. The audience is initially kept hidden of the reason why they are hunting Grace, but that mystery is unfurled as Ready Or Not plays out. It’s not worth spoiling because its reveal is part of the absolutely bonkers finale sequence.

The environment in which the Domas family and Grace is just a very cool aesthetic. A old school mansion that’s oozing both modern appreciation and creepy dark shadows. The dark tone put around the entire movie allows for the characters to shine brightest; the personalities take the show and hook you into the laughs along the way.

A lot like another early summer success Crawl, part of the reason Ready Or Not works is because of the buy-in from the main star. Samara Weaving goes balls-to-the-wall in her portrayal of the sassy badass protagonist. She is charismatic as all hell, working through the chaos of what’s happening around her. The amount of different “Oh god really this again?” faces she is able make is astounding. Her chemistry with her husband Alex is fun and relatable throughout.

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Samara Weaving as Grace

The one thing that Ready Or Not has in Grace that Crawl didn’t nail as well with Haley is the vulnerability aspect. Haley is able to survive vicious alligator attacks and go trudging on like she has Mario Kart’s invincibility star, but Grace is battered, limping and suffers some battle losses in her great war of survival.

Ready Or Not is not seeking people to read deep symbolic messages, but it’s readily understandable the transformation that Grace has throughout the movie. Starting out in a full wedding gown in bright innocent white, she starts her transformation by replacing her fancy shoes with sneakers. She then proceeds to rip the dress and get down and dirty. By the climax of the movie, Grace’s once white dress is more of a deep, sticky, metallic maroon. It’s a rather obvious loss of innocence trek, but its fun to see.

There is only one scene that in Ready Or Not that uses “gore” as a crutch. The rest of the movie has it’s violence, but it isn’t overblown for fillers sake. Often it comes in spurts, entering the scene like a stick of dynamite with the fuse lit. The movie, while revolving around a hunt, manages to balance the zaniness of the action with her personality of the characters.

In terms of the comedy horror genre, Ready Or Not belongs in the same camp of Cabin In The Woods, Zombieland, Shaun Of The Dead and Netflix’s The Babysitter. Massive credit to writers Guy Busick and Ryan Murphy for sticking to their guns with their screenplay, and then directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett for bringing the look home to roost.

Ready Or Not is an absolute blast that’s self-assured in its absurdity. It’s a hit and one of the best movie going experiences of 2019. Have to love movies that surprise you, and Ready Or Not does that too a tee.

Stanko Rating: A-

“Ready Or Not” IMDB
“Ready Or Not” Rotten Tomatoes

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