READY OR NOT Is A Biting Satire On The Depravity Of Wealth (Review)

“Let me tell you about the very rich,” wrote F. Scott Fitzgerald in his 1926 short story Rich Boy. “They are different from you and me.” This nugget of wisdom–simple, effective–worms its way into Ready or Not, the new film from directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett, and works as something of a tagline for the story. The rich, in this story, aren’t just different–they’re sociopathic, so enveloped in the rigamarole of excessive wealth that casual violence is nothing but a blip. But Ready or Not doesn’t just effectively lay out the problems with the elite; it brutally satirizes them at every chance, making for a pulpy, accessible bit of fantasy about how deeply depravity must run to maintain privilege, and what it takes to stop it–if it can even be stopped at all.

Ready or Not is set on the wedding night of Grace (Samara Weaving)–a former foster kid–and Alex Le Domas (Mark O’Brien), the son of a dynastic family who made their fortune on board games. Alex is mostly estranged from his eccentric family, which includes his parents, Tony (Henry Czerny) and Becky (Andie MacDowell), substance-abusing siblings Daniel (Adam Brody) and Emilie (Melanie Scrofano), Daniel’s wife Charity (Elyse Levesque) and Emilie’s husband Fitch (Kristian Bruun). But for reasons that soon become frighteningly clear, it’s family tradition to have the wedding on the grounds of the Le Domas’ estate, a massive compound that’s full of dizzying hallways, ornate rooms, and a bounty of antique weapons.

Image Credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures

Grace seems pretty disaffected with the Le Domas. She’s aware that Tony dislikes her, is bothered by Daniel’s drunken advances, and scoffs at their lavish lifestyle. Still, she loves Alex dearly, and being a part of a family–even a strange one–is a dream of hers, after a life in and out of other people’s homes. Unfortunately for Grace, she’s wandered into a family with their own set of archaic ideas about what it means to maintain the lifestyle to which they’re so accustomed. It involves a wedding night ceremony where Grace must play a game with the family. When she draws a card and sees she’ll be playing Hide and Seek, she laughs; the family stares blankly, noticeable tension filling the room. Grace has drawn the one card that ensures this will be one long, bloody night.

To go into too much detail about what happens next would spoil the fun of Ready or Not, which is a propulsive fun house of cat-and-mouse runaways, effective gore, and biting humor. Suffice it to say, Hide and Seek with the Le Domas is no ordinary adventure, but laced with a danger specific to their family, one that involves pacts with the Devil and a mysterious force with a hold on their fortune. Grace is the unfortunate casualty in their pact, but–unfortunately for the Le Domas–she’s a fighter.

Image Credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures

Samara Weaving is fantastic in the role, which feels like a star-making powerhouse. She’s likable, but also a fierce survivor, and she handles the role with–for lack of a better word–grace. The Le Domas family is also expertly cast, with Adam Brody and Melanie Scrofano as the standouts. Daniel’s alcohol problem makes him a wild card, as does Emilie’s cocaine addiction–they’re the sloppy siblings tasked with maintaining their family name, and neither are up for the job in the slightest.

Ready or Not keeps building and building, with seemingly no where left to go, until it surprises you with an ending so deliciously on-point that you’ll leave the theater with a buzz. It’s a great summer movie, a perfect little air-conditioned joyride, that feels like a bloodier, nastier Clue with a hefty dose of social commentary to really raise the bar.


Header Image Credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures

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