The sun is shining above the estate of the Le Domas dynasty, the mansion, the outdoor pool, the gardens and their encompassing high fence of wrought iron beyond the treeline, while inside the clan – most of them – are gathered for the wedding of Grace to prodigal son Alex, recently returned to the fold; it would be a perfect fairytale wedding if Grace wasn’t so convinced her new in-laws hated her.
The Le Domas fortune having been made in games, there is a tradition to be observed on the night of any new addition to the family dating back to the time of great-grandfather Victor Le Domas and his business associate Mr Le Bail, where a card will be drawn to determine the nature of the celebration.
For Grace, fate deems that she is the quarry in a midnight game of hide and seek, though she is unaware of the twist that her new extended family are armed and have been indoctrinated in the belief that the Le Domas empire will be destroyed if they fail to kill her before dawn, and having become accustomed to wealth, comfort and ritual sacrifice, they will not give up easily.
Directed by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett, two thirds of Radio Silence of Devil’s Due who also contributed to the V/H/S anthology, Ready or Not is by far their best film, a horror comedy where the elegant wood panelled halls and polished furniture are drenched with blood as the secrets of the rich normally kept behind closed doors spill out across the well-tended lawns.
The setup of Clue played with the rules of The Purge, the script by Guy Busick and R Christopher Murphy too often substitutes profanity for sharp dialogue, never becoming sufficiently subversive to push Ready or Not over the edge, a gummy gnaw rather than the bite of the similarly-themed but vastly more anarchic family gathering from Hell of Secret Santa, but while there are no truly original ideas it is not overlong and is entertaining throughout.
Where Ready or Not does shine is in the ensemble, Ash vs Evil Dead‘s Samara Weaving refusing to play helpless victim as Grace, Arrival‘s Mark O’Brien and Shazam!‘s Adam Brody as brothers Alex and Daniel whose devotion and conscience may outweigh family obligation, Wynonna Earp‘s Melanie Scrofano even more out of control than usual as gun-happy sister Emilie and Andie MacDowell as unrepentant matriarch Becky, bringing shade, facets and manic glee to their deal with the devil.