READY OR NOT Review: Ready, Set… Die!

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Ready or Not review — Just the right ratio of gore to giggles.

Ready or Not reviewMovies always want to rain on our poor people’s parade. I mean, who among us in the 99% hasn’t dreamed of marrying into the 1%’s wealth, and happily living the jet-set life till death do us part? And I’m talking natural death. When we’re old. And filthy rich. But nooooo… cautionary flicks like Ready or Not are quick to wag their finger in our face, telling us that not only isn’t money everything, it could cut our life short (emphasis on the cutting).

Ready or Not is a fatal fairytale about a beautiful bride Grace (Samara Weaving, The Babysitter) and her bountiful beau Alex Le Domas (Mark O’Brien, Bad Times at the El Royale). We meet them on their wedding day at the expansive, expensive Le Domas estate, she blushing in white, the groom’s family fuming in red. They just don’t think she’s good enough for their darling boy, so they decide to put her to the test by forcing her into a ghoulish game of hide-and-seek.

The horror and suspense kicks in quickly, as does a delightful dollop of pitch-black comedy. Ready or Not is sort of a cross between the tongue-in-cheek horror of yore (Vincent Price’s House of Wax, or Alfred Hitchcock’s The Trouble with Harry) and today’s political-satire stab-and-slabs (The Purge franchise, and Tales from the Hood: 2 come to mind) with a touch of slapstick. But it’s more than just derivation—Ready or Not is its own clever, brutal, scary and funny little curio.

The cast is wonderful. In addition to Weaving as the damsel in distress with a twist and O’Brien as her not-so-Mr. Wonderful, there’s a cool collective of character actors who each make the most of their mustache-twirling roles. The family that slays together, stays together! First, there are Alex’s parents; mom Becky (Andie MacDowell, Groundhog Day) seems nurturing, while domineering dad Tony (Henry Czerny, “Sharp Objects”) is just the opposite. No wonder brother Daniel (Adam Brody, “The O.C.”) drinks so much! And old Auntie Helene (Nicky Guadagni, Lars and the Real Girl) is a scream. You get the idea.

The objective of the game is to stay alive until sunrise. While the movie’s conceit does wear thin here and there (I blame a lack of buildup/suspense), it’s well worth the payoff at the end. Ready or Not is a good kick-off to the upcoming horror movie season, as it’s got just the right ratio of gore to giggles.

If this Ready or Not review encourages you to run out and seek a movie theater, get times and tickets at

Rated R

1 Hour 36 Minutes

Ready or Not review — Just the right ratio of gore to giggles.

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Lisa Johnson Mandell

Lisa Johnson Mandell

Lisa Johnson Mandell is an award winning journalist, author and film/TV critic. She can be heard regularly on Cumulus radio stations throughout the US, and on BBC Radio.

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