The Real Villains Of ‘Ready Or Not’ Are The 1%

by Jasmine Ting
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In Ready or Not, a young bride named Grace (Samara Weaving) marries into the wealthy Le Domas family, known for their empire of popular board games. But its more than their wealth and the unusual family business that makes Le Domases an out-of-the-ordinary bunch. The family has a violent tradition that they follow every time a new member marries into the family. The horror-comedy involves a bloody game of hide-and-seek, where Grace must take on her in-laws. This absurd story is, of course, completely fictional and the Le Domas family isn't real — though some of the themes behind their beliefs may feel relevant to our world.

The screenplay was written by Guy Busick and Ryan Murphy (not Scream Queens' Ryan Murphy), and is by no means based on a true story. There is no murderous millionaire board game family that takes its own legacy that seriously. But the last name "Le Domas" may be clever wordplay.

"Domas" in Spanish is a conjugation of the verb domar, which means "to tame" or "to control." This may allude to the family's controlling nature as they obviously don't easily accept newcomers, and put them through an excruciating ritual that — for the Le Domases — ideally ends in a sacrifice.

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The Le Domases are certainly not to be confused with any real board game-peddling families. The Parker Brothers company, which was founded by George S. Parker in 1887, is behind classics such as Boggle, Flinch, Risk, and Sorry. His brothers Charles and Edward Parker joined the business later. But the Parker family reign ended in 1968 when the company was purchased by General Mills. Today, the name Parker Brothers is under the umbrella of toy company Hasbro, which acquired the brand back in 1991.

Still, if you were to look at the Le Domas family in more abstract terms, they're very real. As "old money," the clan are very protective of their legacy and their power. They're suspicious of outsiders who are not "like" them, especially if they don't come from means, as Grace doesn't. They think that her husband Alex (Mark O'Brien) has strayed from them in rejecting some of their more extreme beliefs. While hopefully zero brides are subjected to a high-stakes children's game played in a creaky mansion with old-timey weapons, many real women are still expected by their in-laws to want to cook, clean, raise children, and/or run a household — to pass some sort of "wife material" test that proves they're good enough for their son. In that way, Grace's battle can be seen as a battle to retain her independence — and her life.

Ready or Not is a whole lot of bloody fun, but it also speaks to a bigger theme. Horror films, after all, tend to be inspired by cultural fears. And beyond the fear of terrible in-laws, this movie seems to be talking about outdated traditions women are expected to conform to, as well as class tensions and the 1% being out of touch with the rest of society.