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"Ready or Not" Proves That In-Laws Are Psychopaths

It's hard not to walk out of Ready or Not with a big, dumb smile on your face.

Ready or Not excels in its exceedingly simple, high-concept premise: A new bride gets hunted by her insane, uber-rich in-laws on the night of her wedding. After all, who doesn't think their in-laws are kind of, maybe, possibly psychopaths?

Amidst a summer movie landscape brimming with intense family drama, superhero shlock, and endless fascism allegories, Ready or Not offers a much needed escape. While it might not be winning any awards come Oscar season or going down as the most groundbreaking horror film of the decade, it's not aiming to do either. Ready or Not knows exactly what it wants to be––a bloody, gory, ridiculous horror romp that prioritizes fun above everything else. That makes it all the better.

The plot follows Grace (Samara Weaving), a young woman marrying into the insanely wealthy "Le Domas Gaming Dynasty." Immediately after their wedding ceremony, her new husband, Alex (Mark O'Brien), informs her that before she can officially become part of the family, she needs to participate in a ritual family game night when the clock strikes 12. It's tradition. So Grace joins the entire wacky Le Domas clan, including Alex's brother Daniel (Adam Brody), their parents (Henry Czerny and Andie MacDowell), and even kooky aunt Helene, for a game of hide-and-seek.

This kicks off a satanic ritual whereby the Le Domas family must find and sacrifice Grace before dawn, lest they all wind up murdered by a mysterious ghost (or so they believe). But Grace is no wallflower, and Alex refuses to play into his family's hands. With her husband's help, Grace attempts to escape her in-laws in what soon turns into the bloodiest wedding night since Game of Thrones.

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Ready or Not isn't a particularly scary horror movie, but it might be more accurate to call it a black comedy, anyways. The movie is at its best when it pits Grace's desperate fight for survival against the out-of-touch buffoonery of the Le Domas family. While Grace attempts to run for her life and fashion weapons, various members of the Le Domas family drink and snort cocaine and watch crossbow tutorial videos on YouTube.

We don't get much backstory for Grace, but we never really need it. Weaving imbues her character with a sincere likability, putting the audience firmly in her corner throughout the entire affair. Even amongst all the absurdity, Weaving always plays it straight. Grace is down-to-earth, clearly having married Alex for love, not money. This makes her predicament of being hunted by completely out-of-touch rich people that much more stark.

But despite the obvious commentary on classism and the manner in which the rich sacrifice the poor for personal gain, Ready or Not never comes off as proselytizing. The tone remains light and goofy the whole way through, even when narrative beats may have been better served by more serious introspection. It's not a perfect movie, but in spite of any flaws in narrative, theme, or character motivation, it's hard not to walk out of Ready or Not with a big, dumb smile on your face. That's kind of the point.

Rating: ⚡⚡⚡⚡/5

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