Ready or Not

Ready or Not is a 2019 American comedy horror thriller film directed by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett from a screenplay by Guy Busick and R. Christopher Murphy. The film stars Samara Weaving as a newlywed who becomes hunted by her spouse’s family as part of their wedding night ritual. Mark O’Brien portrays her husband, with Adam Brody, Henry Czerny, and Andie MacDowell as members of his family. It grossed over $57 million against a $6 million budget.

Young brothers Alex and Daniel Le Domas witness the killing of a man on the night of his wedding to their Aunt Helene. Thirty years later, Alex has returned home to marry his fiancée, Grace, a former foster child eager to finally have a family. On their wedding night, he tells her that, as tradition, every outside addition to the family must play a game. Grace has to draw a random card, and the game they have to play will be written there. The family includes Alex, his alcoholic brother, Daniel, and drug-addicted sister, Emilie; their father, Tony and mother, Becky; Daniel’s snobbish wife, Charity; Emilie’s whiny husband, Fitch; and the somber Helene. It is explained that their ancestor, Victor Le Domas, made a deal with a man named Le Bail. Le Bail would build the Le Domas fortune in exchange for the Le Domases observing this tradition. Grace draws a card labeled “Hide and Seek.” Unaware of the truth, she hides while the Le Domases arm themselves with antique weapons to hunt her down.

One of the maids is killed accidentally as she is mistaken for Grace. Alex catches up with her and confesses that the “hide and seek” card is the only game that requires the family to kill the recipient. They believe that if Grace survives until dawn, the entire family will die, as per the agreement with Le Bail. He kept the truth from Grace, knowing she would leave him if she knew. The last time someone pulled that card was thirty years ago when Helene’s husband was killed. Shocked, scared, and angry, Grace becomes determined to survive. She is discovered by Daniel, who is disillusioned with the bloody family tradition and gives her a head start. To prevent his family tracking Grace, Alex destroys the security monitors before being restrained by Daniel and Tony.

Grace escapes the mansion and hides in the barn, only to be shot in the hand by Emilie’s young son, Georgie. Furious, she knocks Georgie out, but accidentally falls into a pit filled with the decaying corpses of the previous sacrifices. She climbs out, though not without more wounds, and is pursued by the butler, Stevens. She escapes and steals his car but is soon brought back to the mansion by him. She is restrained on the symbol of a pentagon as the family prepares to sacrifice her. They drink from a ceremonial cup and start to vomit blood. Daniel releases Grace, revealing he non-lethally poisoned its contents. Charity, however, shoots Daniel in the throat, causing him to bleed to death; Grace thanks Daniel for helping her after pistol-whipping Charity and bludgeoning Tony with an oil lamp, inadvertently starting a fire.

Becks attacks Grace who defends herself and bludgeons Becky to death with Le Bail’s wooden game box. Alex finds Daniel’s body before finding Grace and his mother. Realizing that Grace no longer trusts him and will not be with him after all this, Alex subdues her. The group hails Satan as Alex prepares to stab her. At the last moment, Grace twists, taking the stab to her shoulder and freeing herself. Dawn breaks, but when nothing happens, the family believes their tradition was a lie, and all of this was for nothing. However, Helene suddenly explodes. One by one, the remaining family members explode in bloody messes. Alex pleads for Grace’s forgiveness out of cowardice; she rebukes him, and he explodes. As the mansion burns, Grace sees Le Bail’s ghost, realizing there was truth to the tale. As the police arrive, Grace sits on the patio steps, exhausted and traumatized, her wedding dress turned red from blood, and smokes a cigarette.

After the first 20 minutes, which chugs along at a slow pace, the movie picks up and is fun and exciting in places and filled with tension in others. It’s a black comedy horror that works. Great acting by the cast in this low budget flick. 7.5 outta 10!