‘Ready Or Not’ Is A Bloody, Hilarious Puzzle That ‘Clue’ Fans Will Love

by Jasmine Ting
Fox Searchlight

In Ready Or Not, premiering Aug. 21, Grace (Samara Weaving) happily weds Alex (Mark O'Brien), whose strange family has made a fortune in board games. But after the vows, Alex informs his new wife that she'll need to get through "just one more thing" to officially become a part of the Le Domas clan. That tradition turns out to be a game of hide-and-seek in their old, spooky mansion... with life-or-death stakes. But while Ready or Not is scary because of the blood and gore, it's also a lot of campy fun.

Jump scares are expected, considering the rules of the game. And there's also a mystery to be solved, as Alex explains that his family members believe they have to kill Grace "before sunrise, or something very bad will happen to the family." Alex's dad Tony (Henry Czerny) talks about a ritual sacrifice they need to perform, lest they all wind up dead.

This dark comedy/thriller hybrid is sinister and suspenseful, but that's not all there is to it. "It's terrifying and hilarious," Weaving says in a Fox Searchlight video. "It doesn't stick to one genre." The tongue-in-cheek humor is apparent in the trailer, in scenes like the one where Alex's relative Fitch (Kristian Bruun) sits on a toilet while looking up a YouTube tutorial on how to use a crossbow. There's also the casual air in which the Le Domases carry themselves and their weapons — still in their formalwear — as well as the way they downplay the deaths of their maids and all the bloodshed.

Directorial duo Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett also directed Devil's Due, a 2014 tribute to the horror classic Rosemary's Baby. According to IndieWire, the two also worked together on a segment for the 2012 anthology horror film V/H/S. Cowriter Guy Busick penned a few episodes of the IFC horror/comedy Stan Against Evil, and collaborator Ryan Murphy (not that one) is responsible for a few horror shorts. So there's a good balance of the scary and the silly between them.

The film made its debut in July at the Fantasia Film Festival. And so far, critics have been singing the film's praises. For Birth. Movies. Death., Andrew Todd writes, "While it’s a very funny movie, the stakes always feel real and pressing, and the sense of danger is never diminished by the character comedy." Fandom's Eric Goldman tweeted, "Its delightful craziness is anchored by a great cast who perfectly maintain the tone, including a terrific Samara Weaving in the lead role."

Meanwhile, critic William Bibbiani likens Ready or Not to the 1985 classic Clue, saying that the film is "dripping with atmosphere, horror, humor, and blood." And entertainment journalist Courtney Howard predicts that it will be "the new, killer cult classic."

So to sum it all up, if you tend to get nauseous at the sight of blood or human innards and/or are uncomfortable with excessive violence, then maybe you should steer clear of this film. But if you love that stuff, then this family-game-night-gone-wrong movie should be totally harmless.