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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Sep 3, 2019


samara weaving as the ill fated bride 

samara after her bloody encounter with her in laws from hell

‘READY OR NOT’ is about humans hunting down their prey, another human being who has to fight tooth and nail in order to survive. This is reminiscent of similar movies like “The Most Dangerous Game” (originally a short story and has been filmed several times, including “Surviving the Game”), “The Naked Prey”, “Race with the Devil”, “Southern Comfort”, “You’re Next” and the more recent “Hunger Games” and “Get Out”.

The difference is that the protagonist in “Ready or Not” is a wide-eyed bride who thought she’s having a fairy tale wedding, not having an inkling it would soon turn into a gruesome nightmare. Grace (Samara Weaving, previously seen in “Mayhem” with Steven Yeun that also has over-the-top violence) is happy to marry into the ultra-rich Le Domas Family who made their fortune from board games. Her groom, Alex (Mark O’Brien), just before their wedding ceremony begins, offers her the chance to get out but, of course, she laughs it off.

She can feel that her future in laws are not really welcoming her, but her prospective mother in law, Becky (Andie MacDowell, star of many early 90s hit romcoms like “Green Card” and “Four Weddings & a Funeral” and now looking quite pleated) assures her that her fears that her “blood will never be blue enough” for the royal Le Domas family (they prefer to call it “dominion”) are unfounded.

So the wedding happens in the family’s palatial estate but, on their wedding night, before they can consummate their conjugal bliss, the family tells Grace they first have to perform a ritual game that is part of their family’s tradition. Grace has to draw a card to determine what game they will all play.

She then gets the Hide and Seek card which may seem harmless, but is actually a game of death that Grace must win as her psycho in laws from hell turn into a hunting who are all out to kill her, led by the ugly Aunt Helen (Nicky Guadagni), who looks like a leering psychopath ready to pounce on her.

Grace initially plays along as their target, until she realizes that she’s actually in mortal danger. They’re running after her with pistols, shotguns, axes, knives and crossbows. These are truly rich people behaving badly. What follows is a series of bloody encounters as their quarry miraculously survives all the threats against her (including from a seemingly innocent little boy) then takes control of her own destiny and turns the game around her ruthless attackers through her own grit, pluck, resourcefulness and sheer luck.

Samara Weaving gives a solid portrayal of the feisty heroine, although we wish we got to know more of her so we can root for her more enthusiastically. The movie’s setting is a big asset, especially the Le Domas estate and the sprawling mansion with its countless rooms and creepy secret passages.

The movie is somehow meant to be a satire on the rich and is told with some morbid humor, like when it’s the maids who accidentally get shot or impaled instead of Grace, turning it into horror comedy. Directors Matt Olpin and Tyler Gillett are actually more successful in coming up with offbeat humor than scary scenes, like in making the menacing familly butler who gets to capture Grace a fan of classical music who loves singing in his car. Well, he surely gets the comeuppance he deserves.

 Actually, the movie is not really that funny as a comedy and neither is it scary as a horror thriller. The finale is definitely a cop out and the whole satire thing turns limp when a supernatural element is introduced. It turns out the family has made a pact with a certain Mr. Le Bail and just like Dracula, the bad guys have to do their mission in killing Grace before the sun shines or else, something will happen to them. And it does.