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Ready or Not Review

For a British audience of a certain age, there is almost a sort of nostalgia for the first act of black comedy horror Ready or Not. The ensemble cast of odd and quirky characters in a stately gothic mansion, evokes memories of Clue, Rocky Horror and And Then There Were None. The claustrophobic setting and small cast trapped in what is essentially a base under siege, feels like lots of other scary movies you and I have both seen. However, since it’s 2019, the horror, violence and dark comedy is ramped up to 11 and most of the time it works.

Samara Weaving plays feisty bride to be Grace, waiting to marry the love of her life Alex Le Domas played by Mark O’Brien. The ceremony is just about to start at the Le Domas’ house, attended by the family, eagerly anticipating the wedding, and the traditional formalities that lie ahead. As a dynasty of game makers, any new additions to the family must play a game, picked at random, before they are accepted into the inner circle. However, when Hide And seek is selected, things take a bizarre turn, and Grace finds herself in a fight for survival against the rest of the Le Domas clan.

(L to R) Kristian Bruun, Melanie Scrofano, Andie MacDowell, Henry Czerny, Nicky Guadagni, Adam Brody, and Elyse Levesque in the film READY OR NOT. Photo by Eric Zachanowich. © 2019 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation All Rights Reserved

The simple story unfolds quite nicely and the bizarre nature of the house and family is easy to predict. The shots of the group altogether make you think of The Addams Family, and there is plenty of funny lines to keep that analogy going right through the film. However, once the game begins, things get nastier and nastier, and the 18 certificate in the UK, is there for the graphic violence, gore and injury detail.

Despite the tight premise though, there are some moments where the humour fails to land. Aunt Helene is probably the most over the top character, brandishing an axe, and revelling in the horror of the situation. However the performance and styling of the character seems more suited to a stage production than a film of this nature, and I found her quite distracting whenever she was on screen. But by the time you get to the final scenes, this will all seem redundant, as the screenplay ramps up the action leaving any semblance of reality behind, with the audience sitting in pretty much the same way as the final on screen character.

If you enjoy this kind of low budget imaginative black comedy, then you will enjoy this. If you are a more serious horror fan, then this may leave you feeling slightly silly.
It’s certainly not meant to be film that leaves you with dense moral questions, like Midsommar, but it has a cheesy likeable tone, that is often thrown off balance by some strange writing and directorial choices. It will end up a late night cult favourite and that’s no bad thing.