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Ready or Not is violent, rambunctious fun

 

READY OR NOT
directed by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett

Australian Samara Weaving leads a horror-thriller about a newly minted bride forced to play an ancestral game of hide-and-seek.

It can be nerve-racking marrying into a new family at the best of times, but on her wedding day, newly minted bride Grace (Margot Robbie lookalike Samara Weaving) finds herself up against the worst challenge imaginable: to live through the night.

Grace has unwittingly put in motion an ancestral tradition of hide-and-seek – “It’s just something we do when someone new joins the family” – that pitches her against her new inlaws (Andie MacDowell and Henry Czerny, hamming it up) and a motley crew of extended family members in a gothic mansion. Only, in this game, the seekers are armed with guns, knives and crossbows.

This clever, bitingly funny and scream-inducing film takes a relatively simple premise and crafts a hugely entertaining horror-thriller packed with laughs, gross-outs and outrageously gratuitous violence. It’s like a combination of Clue, Kill Bill and every horror movie in which a plucky young heroine fights the cruellest of odds. Yet it still feels fresh, fun and frequently frightening as the action zips along through secret passageways and dumb waiters in a classic, creepy house of horrors.

Weaving leads a terrific cast in a role that will surely catapult her from Australian television into a leading-lady Hollywood career. She is superbly assured, luminous to watch, and has the most endearing snort-laugh.

Ready or Not is rambunctious fun that doesn’t take itself at all seriously but delivers an assuredly white-knuckle ride.

IN CINEMAS NOW

★★★★1/2

Video: 20th Century Fox NZ

This article was first published in the December 7, 2019 issue of the New Zealand Listener.