‘Ready or Not’ Review: Here Kills the Bride
In a film that’s ‘Bridesmaids’ meets ‘The Purge,’ a new wife plays a deadly game of hide and seek
★ ★ ★ 1/2
What a decadent blast to watch a comic takedown of the rich done with the rude energy of a horror thriller and the courage of its own manic anti-marriage convictions. Directed with ferocious flair by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett (part of the fright collective Radio Silence) from a game-on script by Guy Busick and R. Christopher Murphy, the wow factor of Ready or Not helps you jump the hurdles of any plot predictability.
Grace (a sensational Samara Weaving) is the have-not product of a foster family who marries into the poisonously wealthy Le Domas clan, who made their fortune manufacturing board games. After her nuptials to Alex (Mark O’Brien), his family, looking like fugitives from the Addams Family, fill her in on the family’s wedding night tradition: she must play a game, to be chosen at random from a deck of options. Other brides and grooms have drawn a harmless round of Go Fish or Old Maid. But Grace pulls the card for Hide and Seek — a version in which you can be killed if you can’t evade your stalkers before sunrise. It’s Bridesmaids meets The Purge.
Poor Grace, still in the pristine wedding dress that will soon be drenched in blood, tries to avoid the murderous relatives daddy Le Domas (Henry Czerny) has armed with historic weapons of bride destruction, from an axe to a crossbow. Alex, naturally, wants no part of this macabre initiation. But his mom (Andie MacDowell), boozy brother (Adam Brody) and crazy Aunt Helene (Nicky Guadagni, who is terrific) have fewer reservations.
It all goes from bloody hilarious to just bloody. What’s unexpected is the subversive wit that that turns Ready or Not into a satiric sneak attack on the institution of marriage. As the bodies pile up, the film scores points for underlining the crimes committed in the name of family ties and wedded bliss. The ending leaps into the wild blue of absurdity, but it’s killer fun getting there.