Ready or Not

Ready or Not ★★★½

"Fucking rich people!"

A thriller of manners peppered with solid humor, steeped in a taut atmosphere of murder and mahogany, and bolstered by a befitting cast led by a pitch-perfect scream queen. Ready or Not features elements we're certainly familiar with from the genre ancestors it undoubtedly takes inspiration from, but the consistency and total vigor brought to the table in this twisting tale of class, superstition, and tenacity from directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett and screenwriters Guy Busick and R. Christopher Murphy allow this game night to rise above anticipated stylings and other summer fare. The film revels in its sardonic spirit, an attitude made even greater by a legitimately stellar lead performance from Australian actress Samara Weaving. With hints of Laurie Strode and Ellen Ripley, Weaving completely owns her role of petrified newlywed turned feral survivalist with both finesse and ferociousness. That inhuman scream of hers during the finale and total "I'm done with this shit" conviction are sensational to behold.

Even when the pace dials down to a noticeable simmer for considerable portions of the second act to make way for familiar character progression, the wild alignment of vision and execution remains intact as events and lore grow increasingly berserk, culminating in a genuinely satisfying close to a deranged evening of hide-and-seek. Ready or Not may not be an instant pulp classic, but it's certainly a notable effort of horror-comedy that entertains and terrorizes in equal measure. Being the only ones in the auditorium yesterday afternoon, Will and I laughed and shrieked with great glee. Seeing with friends is definitely recommended.

"Are you ready for this?"

P.S. The actor who plays the dad is Ethan Hunt's douchey IMF chief from Mission: Impossible, not Elaine's boss, Peterman, on Seinfeld. Don't spend the whole first act pointlessly trying to figure that out like I did. I'm sure you weren't planning to anyway.

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