Whether I like it or not, I’m becoming a bit of a horror movie aficionado.
It might be the fact my boyfriend and best friend both adore them and frequently choose to watch the streaming service Shudder with me. I’m not sure I even knew who Joe Bob Briggs was until a few months ago, but now he’s like a member of the family.
When I saw the trailer for “Ready or Not,” though, I’ll admit I was interested on my own accord. The horror comedy — I guess you can call it a comedy? — features Samara Weaving as a bride who realizes her new husband’s family isn’t quite what she expected.
The film opens on the wedding day of Grace (Weaving) and Alex (Mark O’Brien). There’s no buildup or backstory. Instead, we’re just thrust into an awkward day in which Grace seems to be the odd one out.
Alex’s brother, Daniel (Adam Brody), seems a bit too friendly, while Alex’s father, Tony (Henry Czerny) and most of the rest of the family seem to dislike her. Alex’s mother, Becky (Andie MacDowell) could probably go either way, to be honest. At midnight, Grace learns the family will gather to play a game. It’s something of an initiation, and it’s not optional. What game it is will be decided upon by the choosing of a playing card.
Other new spouses have drawn cards like “chess” or “Old Maid,” but Grace’s card reads “hide and seek.” This means Grace must hide — and survive — until dawn because the family believes they must kill her by dawn, or they’ll perish themselves.
Thus begins a game of cat and mouse that is fiendish and completely twisted. Alex tries to help Grace as best he can, and Daniel seems quite conflicted over it. The rest of the family, though, readily wields their crossbows, rifles and axes.
It’s not a very smooth execution, though, as the family’s maids keep getting in the way, and Grace proves to be quite the hide and seeker. In fact, she’s crazy resilient, and I didn’t know a wedding dress could have so many uses, but it can strangle a person or provide a tourniquet as easily as a fluffy vision of white lace.
“Ready or Not” is only about 90 minutes long, and, once it gets moving, it moves fairly quickly. The first third of the film drags a bit, though, but I think it’s supposed to do that. It’s awkward and uncomfortable, and that awkwardness keeps building. It’s the uncomfortable exchanges between Grace and her in-laws. It’s Alex and Daniel telling her it‘s not too late to run, because that’s what every bride wants to be told on her big day. It’s various family members glaring at her. It’s awkward, and it makes the insanity that’s still to come seem even more fitting.
After all, we don’t get happy exchanges or loving words. We get tense moments where even the audience feels bad for the new bride, and it’s not because we know what’s coming. It’s just because this family isn’t one you’d want to spend the rest of your life with.
I’ve seen Weaving in the Netflix horror original, “The Babysitter,” in addition to “Mayhem” and “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” Both “The Babysitter” and “Mayhem” are horror comedies for lack of a better word, so I’m going to begin thinking she has a type. Both are bloody and make gruesome funny, which can be difficult to do.
Grace proves to be extremely badass. A little obnoxious and annoying at first, but that becomes less obvious once she begins running for her life. Again and again, she manages to avoid detection, and you have to wonder what kind of day job she has. In fact, it’s her own naïveté that trips her up, such as not suspecting a tween with a handgun or not making sure someone she strangles is truly dead.
Seriously, I don’t like horror movies, but even I know enough to know you need to make sure the bad guy is really dead because he/she always comes back.
All in all, “Ready or Not” is a diverting, fun romp through the worst wedding ever.