Ready or Not

For horror fans, this is one wedding reception you won’t want to miss.

There’s a synopsis in “Ready or Not” that you’re going to think is terrible, and I don’t blame you. There is a family tradition that whenever somebody new joins a family, they have to play a game. If the game is “Hide and Seek,” then the newbie has to hide, and the family has to murder him/her (depending on the gender) before dawn or they’ll all die.

That sounds bad, I know, but then again, I’ve never seen anything like it. Sure, I’ve seen a plot in “The Killing of a Sacred Deer,” where Colin Farrell must murder one of his family members, or they’ll all perish; but never one that takes harsh risks, confuses us, and makes us laugh with its dark consistency.

The bride-to-be is Grace (Samara Weaving, who you may remember as John Hawkes’ girlfriend in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”), who doesn’t know that it’s bad luck for her intended Alex Le Domas (Mark O’Brien, “Arrival”) to see her before the wedding. I don’t think he does, either.

Anyway, his family must follow the sacred rules of their great ancestor, who started the satanic game, and requires that the family turns off their security cameras, give the mansion a full lockdown, and use his old-fashioned tools (shotguns, crossbows, etc.) to sacrifice the newcomer.

That is unless, they pick another game besides Hide and Seek, which in the movie’s case, it is.

Grace is terrified beyond words to acknowledge this tradition, even if Alex tries to free her.

The Le Domas family, besides Alex, have recurring gags and situations of their own. The patriarch Tony (Henry Czerny) has a temper problem every time Grace dodges the bullet; the matriarch Becky (Andie MacDowell) is always calming him down, while cursing at the same time; the brother Daniel (Adam Brody) is a drunk, who doesn’t seem to care if anyone dies or not; and the sister Emilie (Melanie Scrofano) is a cokehead who always slaughters the wrong girl.

And let’s not forget the creepy Aunt Helene (Nicky Guadagni), the brother-in-law Fitch (Kristian Braun), whose name rhymes with you know what, and the selfish sister-in-law Charity (Elyse Levesque).

“Ready or Not” was written by Guy Busick and Ryan Murphy, and directed by “V/H/S” collaborators: Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett. All these people have sold themselves out, taken their chances, and made one Hell of a crazy movie.

Why am I praising a movie with an unforgivable set-up and a disturbing final scene? Because it’s energetic, well-acted, wickedly funny, and zany; and we don’t get much of them. Weaving has a similar spark as Jessica Rothe in “Happy Death Day” with her timing and attitude; Czerny is fun when he loses his temper; Brody provides the goods as the drunk son; and MacDowell is charming as the mother.

As far as I’m concerned, most movie-goers wouldn’t eat up a movie like this, but I’m not recommending it to everyone. I’m recommending it to horror fans and anyone who seeking for something old, something new, something borrowed, and something deranged, too. My taste can sometimes be wacky, and I did praise “The Hateful Eight” for its decisions. This is just a little piece of info for you.

⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2

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