READY OR NOT – Brutal Hide and Seek

Remember playing Hide and Seek as a kid? READY OR NOT explores the game and adds a macabre gothic horror element to it. Now imagine playing hide and seek but all the seekers (no this is not a Harry Potter movie) are trying to kill you. Sounds like an awesome premise for a horror comedy.

Kernel Elie reviews this one and it’s out now, been out for a little while. I can’t apologise enough as to how behind I am in posting everyone’s reviews. I am working 10-12hrs 7 days a week at the moment and at the same time am battling a flu that has now become a chest infection, and today to add to the fun the entire state is on fire – I am sure it can get worse though haha.

READY OR NOT is rated MA15+ in Australia, it is released by the awesome peeps at 20th Century Fox and it runs for 95mins. Enjoy Elie’s review and get thee butts to the cinemas.

Ready or Not Mark O'Brien and Samara Weaving
Mark O’Brien and Samara Weaving

BY ELIE ELKORR

READY OR NOT SYNOPSIS – HIDE AND SEEK WITH A TWIST:

Grace couldn’t be happier after she marries the man of her dreams at his family’s luxurious estate. There’s just one catch; a game drawn via a mysterious box must be played as a family initiation tradition. She must now hide from midnight until dawn while her new in-laws hunt her down with guns, crossbows and other weapons. As Grace desperately tries to survive the night, she soon finds a way to turn the tables on her not-so-loveable relatives.

Ready or Not Samara Weaving
Samara Weaving

CHARACTERS – SAMARA WEAVING KICKS ASS :

An epic, badass female character we can get behind. Take notes, Disney. Samara Weaving’s character Grace has a great character arc in READY OR NOT. The bride-to-be is first depicted as a sassy yet tentative individual desperately searching for a family. Her transformation to ultimate badassery and wielding all kinds of medieval weapons is well earned. Weaving’s line delivery is also fantastic, blended with great comedic timing and remarkable moments of frenzy and rage. Weaving has plenty of memorable moments from her hellish duels with her new ‘family.’ One scene involved a nail and will have audiences gripping their seats. Brutal and thrilling thanks to Weaving’s raw cries of agony and distress. Weaving proves that she has the prowess and acting chops to be a standout lead. It looks like Hollywood has a new badass Aussie in town. 

Grace’s family to be is weirdly absurd, but each character is given nuanced traits that are somewhat amusing. Andie MacDowell, Adam Brody, Mark O’Brien, Henry Czerny, Melanie Scrofano, Nicky Guadagni, Elyse Levesque, and Kristian Bruun are the ensemble that makes up the poisonously wealthy Le Domas family. Kristian Bruun (Fitch Bradley) has some great comedic moments while Andie MacDowell is having the time of her life playing a two-faced mother in law. The rest of the cast are given utterly over the top personalities and whether it hits the mark will depend on your sense of humour. Adam Brody (Daniel Le Domas) is the most fleshed out with a touching backstory involving his brother Alex (Mark O’ Brien). The rest of the cast, despite their amusingly bonkers performances, only have one mission to satisfy per the script, to hunt Grace. 

Ready or Not Adam Brody and Henry Czerny
Adam Brody and Henry Czerny

PLOT – SIMPLISTIC AND SELF AWARE :

With a budget of only $6 million, READY OR NOT creates a tense atmosphere with its brilliant use of a secluded mansion. Intricate escape routes and secret rooms set the stage for a fun game of hide and seek. The lighting of scenes further embraces the suspenseful ambience, and there is a tremendous dramatic shift from the angelic lighting depicted early on during Grace’s wedding. There are some fantastic moments of brutality, and there is no remorse when it comes to ratting out the location of Grace. Sure, it may be her mother in law or her husband, but if result must be that Grace becomes a sacrificial lamb, so be it. This allows for some unexpected twists and turns, and although the plot may seem to be heading down a predictable tangent, READY OR NOT pulls a new trick out of the hat. 

Ready or Not Samara Weaving
Samara Weaving

BEWARE THE IN-LAWS:

READY OR NOT is tongue and cheek when it comes to its overall central theme of the rich embodying Satanic qualities and being cut from a different cloth of society. This can be to the film’s detriment where tones clash. READY OR NOT can hit the comedic nail on the head; however, it comes at a cost. The comedy may be hit and miss, and at points, it can be to the detriment of maintaining tension within a scene. For example, there is a fantastic suspenseful sequence in a kitchen that is ruined by one character’s love for renaissance music. The tension was drained out.

There is some subversive wit in READY OR NOT that throws jabs at the institution of marriage and its overall importance in society. It may make for some intriguing reflection on what you may be marrying into. Be careful because although at face value, the money is tempting, the in-laws may be wack!

Ready or Not Kristian Bruun, Melanie Scrofano, Andie MacDowell, Henry Czerny, Nicky Guadagni, Adam  Brody, and Elyse Levesque
(L to R) Kristian Bruun, Melanie Scrofano, Andie MacDowell, Henry Czerny, Nicky Guadagni, Adam Brody, and Elyse Levesque

IN CONCLUSION:

READY OR NOT is a fun horror flick filled with gore, comedy and thrilling moments. Samara Weaving truly holds her own as a badass lead and a force not to be messed with. Despite issues with the film’s tone and throwaway side characters, there is enough twists and turns in READY OR NOT’s arsenal to make it a fun and quick cinematic venture. 

YOUR CRITIC:

YOUR CRITIC:

Elie Elkorr is a proud film critic and writer for Salty Popcorn. He is a movie fanatic and also runs his own Twitter page for movie reviews and news @TweetEReviews1. He likes calling out movies when they provide social commentary rather than focusing on actual story and doesn’t care what anyone thinks about it. His views are his own. He is also a Law and Film student on the side and is the heir to being Black Widow’s Boyfriend. 

** Images used are courtesy of various sources on Google or direct from the distributor or publisher. Credit has been given to photographers where known – images will be removed on request.