I always prefer to kick off these Summer of Horror marathons with a movie I pretty much know I’m gonna love. It gives me the momentum I need right off the bat to get back into the horror mindset, and prep me for later viewings that may feel a bit more “homeworky”. Enter Ready or Not, last year’s surprise horror hit from a director team calling themselves Radio Silence.
You might call it “You’re Next meets Knives Out”. When a young woman marries into a wealthy, eccentric family who made their fortune in board game enterprises, she learns about an odd tradition they have on the night of the wedding: pick a game at random to play against the whole family… at midnight. Unfortunately, she just happens to draw the Hide and Seek card, which unbeknownst to her, means losing the game equals being hunted to death by that very family as a ritualistic sacrifice.
Samara Weaving’s Grace is not the efficient, cool survivalist that You’re Next’s Erin was. She’s still in her god damn wedding dress when the crossbow bolts and blood start flying. But against the family of despicable, out of touch blue bloods straight out of last year’s Knives Out, her success mostly falls on luck and the incompetence of her opposite number, which is always funny and full of unexpected turns. Weaving is great in the role, becoming more and more frustrated and savage as that white dress gets ever more red.
The fairly gnarly gore is really the only barrier to entry for general audiences, but if you can stomach it, Ready or Not is simply a fun, funny, thrilling and brisk 90-odd minutes of mayhem that delivers, with a final punchline that kills.