WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) -
Grace (Samara Weaving) has just married into a very eccentric family when she weds sweet and attentive Alex De Lomas ; part of the incredibly rich De Lomas empire, who have made buckets of money in games creation and marketing. Alex is estranged from his family, but Grace would love to see him reconnect and agrees to get married at their mansion, which is magnificent, but a bit creepy. The house has plenty of secrets. A prologue that depicts a brutal game of hide and seek that traumatizes Alex and his brother Daniel (Adam Brody) as children thirty years ago, underlines this.
Although Alex’s parents Tony (Henry Czerny) and Becky (Andie MacDowell) like Grace and are grateful for her encouragement of Alex’s reunion with them, they also believe in strict family tradition. A wedding night tradition involves the new in-law, (Grace) drawing a card from a “special” box; then the family must play the game written on the card. Earlier, when Alex dreads this tradition, Grace cannot understand why. Although, she admits it is eccentric she sees nothing weird about agreeing to it, to appease her new in-laws. However, when she draws the “hide and seek” card—a card that apparently hasn’t been drawn in thirty years (remember the gory prologue) all hell breaks loose. Or should I say, the horrible in-laws break loose as the hunt for the hiding Bride becomes a big game of cat and mouse, with each family member getting a weapon from the archival arsenal of the mansion. The fact they they like Grace is irrelevant, because they believe if they don’t play the game, and kill her, the tradition is broken and the entire family will die gruesomely in a mass death that will annihilate the De Lomas family completely. It apparently is some pact they made with you know how (the devil) in exchange for their incredible financial success.
Luckily for Grace, the De Lomas family isn’t too bright or particularly deft at weaponry and soon members begin to get picked off in various funny, gory ways because of their own mistakes. That’s not to say that Grace isn’t resourceful and tough, she makes a formidable foe to the murderous clan she has had the misfortune to marry into. Weaving certainly delivers a tough performance in the lead role, and is completely credible as the resourceful, kick ass heroine. Furthermore she has star charisma. Of course Alex tries to protect his wife, and for a while he is her only ally, assisting her indirectly in her plans to escape the locked down house. However, loyalties can shift, even with those close to you, especially in a horror film that relies on twists a little too often. Speaking of twists, sometimes rules set up early in the film aren’t followed too closely (third act versus first act rules) in Ready or Not. What was the goal of the hide and seek game for the family when the card is drawn?
Directors Matt Bettinelli-Olphin and Tyler Gillett and writers Ryan Murphy and Guy Busick have a great sense of humor and there are some genuinely funny moments weaved into the horror and suspense. It is certainly a step up from your average horror film. The atmosphere of games and the mysterious family is original and adds great flare to the proceedings, but a little more attention to the script set-up and pay off would have helped. However, it does have a fantastic last image and even better last line-worth the price of admission alone.