The Le Domas family made their millions as a family gaming company, dating back to card and board games of yesteryear. Their eccentricity leads them to a ritual upon anyone marrying into the family, in which they play a game of some kind to initiate them. When Grace (Samara Weaving) marries Alex (Mark O’Brien), the tradition continues, and the game they have chosen at random is hide and seek. Harmless as this seems, things go from fun to frightening, as it’s less playground and more manhunt. The Le Domas clan is out to hunt Grace down, for fear of the consequences of breaking form.
It’s been a minute since I’ve seen a great horror comedy. The last one, and perhaps the finest of the decade, was Tucker and Dale vs. Evil, though Ready or Not might just surpass it. The story is a wild ride, the characters are exaggerated, and the gore gets out of hand in the best ways. The pace is breakneck, cramming a lot into its 95-minute runtime, but the story never feels rushed or drawn out.
Samara Weaving’s performance here is stellar. If The Babysitter didn’t sell you on her, her work here will surely cement her place as a modern scream queen. Her one-liners are guffaw-inducing, especially her brief tirade directed at a driver-by. The scene in the crypt is so tense, and Weaving sells the desperate but determined tone like few others I’ve seen before. Her humor, much like the rest of the gags in the film, never once feels forced or ham-fisted, which is a rarity in the horror/comedy mash-up.
Another great bit of character work comes with Helene, played by Nicky Guadagni. Thirty years prior to the events of Ready or Not, it is her would-be husband Charles (Andrew Anthony) that falls victim to the deadly games of the Le Domas legacy. By the time we reach Grace’s game, Helene is a cold, calculated bitch who’s not above putting someone out of their misery for the sake of winning the game. Though the most cartoonish of the Le Domases, she provides a focus to the family, keeping them on the trail until the bloody end.
My only regret about Ready or Not is not seeing it in theaters. It mixes the genres expertly, and allows the guys behind Radio Silence to prove that in a genre full of retellings, remakes, and tropes, original ideas can work when the right work is done.