READY OR NOT, another entry in the horror-comedy part of the plasma pool, this time from 2019, gets some cheap sick laughs from its yuck quotient and the cast’s commitment before it chases its tail into lazy excess. Mainly it serves as a vehicle to display the talent chops of Samara Weaving, its chosen victim/ultimate heroine. A star-on-the-rise, she’s another present from Australia.
Smart, sweet & sexy ‘Grace’ (Weaving, 27) marries ‘Alex le Domas’ (Mark O’Brien) at the estate of his wealthy family, whose fortune was built on designing board games. Alex lets her know his tribe is off-kilter, but how off they are is revealed in a post-ceremony tradition where the gathered clan plays a game together. This time, it’s “hide-and-seek”. Before you can say “Annulment, you depraved bastard”, Grace finds out the game has her hiding for her life in various parts of the mansion as the brood, armed with a variety of antique weapons, track her down for a ritual sacrifice.
The actors are game (literally), and the production design has quality, but soon enough screenplay becomes yet another of those that takes our pal the f-word and f’s the living F out of it, and the initial shock-gags end up in a dumb blood bath that gives new meaning to the word “splatter”.
There are good performances all round (creepiest is Nicky Guadagni as bat-f–kingly weird ‘Aunt Helene’), and Weaving really bats a home run, but the crass/clever/cynical concept ultimately can’t sustain itself. Most reviews were positive, and the $6,000,000 exercise struck the blood-money vein, grossing $57,600,000, split evenly between the States and all those other countries.
The other game players—Adam Brody, Henry Czerny, Andie McDowell, Melanie Scrofano, Kristian Bruun, Elyse Levesque, John Ralston.
Directed by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin & Tyler Gillett, written by Guy Busick & R.Christopher Murphy, with music scored by Brian Tyler. 95 minutes.