Review: “Ready or Not”

Basing a film on the premise of meeting your new spouse’s in-laws isn’t exactly a novel idea. There’s plenty of drama and hijinks that comes with the territory – especially if the new in-laws have traditions, customs, beliefs, or status that takes some getting used to. Sometimes, there’s an initiation to go through even after the vows are said and done. Sometimes, that initiation involves attempting to survive a deadly game of hide and seek until sunrise while said in-laws try to kill you. That’s the basic premise for 2019’s Ready or Not, starring Samara Weaving as the bride-to-be-hunted, in an intense thriller that plays for keeps up until the final moments.

The story starts off innocent enough, with Weaving’s blushing bride Grace happily wedding her ostentatiously rich beau Alex on the steps of his family’s mansion. While most of her new family members look on in joy and applause, there’s a few that obviously disapprove of the new addition. Alex’s father Tony, the patriarch of the family and their booming board game empire, openly discusses his thoughts with Alex’s brother, Daniel, and makes several allusions to the night’s traditional activity. Once the nuptials are all said and done, the sun sets on the mansion as the family gathers in the appropriately themed game room where Tony gives a grand speech about the history of the family’s fortune and his great-grandfather, who made a deal with a mysterious benefactor by the name of Mr. Le Bail. Along with the promise of wealth for generations to come, the family is in possession of a small box of cards, from which Grace is told to draw from to determine which game the family will play that night. While she thinks it’s all “just a game,” it’s obvious everyone else takes it seriously – especially when she draws the card labeled Hide and Seek. Off she goes to hide, while the family counts to a hundred and draws medieval battleaxes, crossbows, handguns, and other weapons. The hunt is on, and Grace must evade her murder happy in-laws until the sun rises or she’s found.

It’s an intense, adrenaline-packed ride that has the audience rooting for Grace the whole way through, full of twists and turns as the family hunting her grows more desperate the closer it creeps to dawn. Along with solid acting from Weaving and an array of memorable characters, the writing holds up even during the few lulls in the action. The film opened to modest noise but was quickly a box office success, proving that there’s still a place for some good old fashioned action horror with audiences. Ready or Not is a treat for those who want to root for the final girl, or who just want to enjoy a movie night in.