Ready or Not

Ready or Not ★★★½

Tyler Gillett and Matt Bettinelli-Olpin’s “Ready or Not” can pretty much be summed up by a single line of dialogue from the movie’s relentless second act: “Fucking rich people.” Spat out through a set of bloody teeth, those words cut right to the heart of this devilishly fun late summer surprise, a violent dark comedy that (sometimes literally) skewers the 1% by inviting us into a clan who would sooner kill than surrender their good fortune. There are other devious forces at work here, as well — the story hinges on the strange moral codes that hold families together — but most of all this is a movie about how money is always a devil’s bargain. Inheriting it can be dangerous; marrying into it can be deadly.

Grace (a phenomenal Samara Weaving) learns that lesson the hard way, even if money is the last thing on her mind. A former foster kid who grew up without a trust fund or any of the support that it entails, Grace is getting hitched to Alex Le Domas (Mark O’Brien) for all of the right reasons. She’s a genuine soul with a grounded sense of humor, and it’s clear from the very first scene that she thinks of Alex’s family — an angry and stuck-up hive of WASPs — as more of a liability than a selling point. That’s something the two lovebirds have in common, and something we see them joke about one last time before they walk down the aisle.

But only Alex, the semi-estranged black sheep of the Le Domas “dominion,” knows why every family wedding has to be held at his father’s (Henry Czerny) sprawling mansion. Only Alex knows why the house is threaded with secret passageways, trap doors, and a special room full of Civil War-era weapons. And only Alex knows why it’s so important that the eccentric Le Domas brood end every wedding night with a randomly chosen game of some kind.

He isn’t trying to trick his bride, he just doesn’t think it’s worth scaring her. Most of the time, nothing bad happens! When his alcoholic brother (Adam Brody) married a coldly elegant woman named Charity, they all played Go Fish or something. When his cocaine-addled sister (Melanie Scrofano) married a sweaty human disaster named Fitch Bradley (Kristian Bruun), they all played Old Maid. The odds of them landing on Hide & Seek — the most dangerous game — are slim. But that’s exactly what happens on Grace’s special night, and Alex is powerless to stop the rest of his family from hunting his new bride. If they catch her before dawn, they’ll kill her. And if they don’t, the consequences might be even worse.


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