On Assignment: Sydney Scoop – Editor: Rebecca Varidel
Psychological Thriller (USA)
Duration: 87 minutes
In Cinemas Thursday 24 October
It was customary for ancient civilizations to gather at the colosseum and watch the brut force and perverted excitement of chase and attack between gladiators, fighting to the death. The decorum of today’s modern society has refined itself to the easy low expectation pasttime of a good old fashion psychology thriller and slasher film which in this film takes the a game of ‘hide and seek’ to extreme levels.
There’s a general formula we expect when it comes to horror:
1. the reliving of a past memory, a trauma triggered by an anniversary – tick, we’re given a glimpse into the past in the opening frames that sets the course of two brothers and the roles they play within their family
2. mind games, murder chase sequences – tick, the bride to be strangely enough, meets her in-laws for the first time and ends up with all of them out to kill
3. a triumphant hero with an opening to a sequel or displaced happy but satisfying ‘happy’ ending – tick.
For fans of the horrorfest, it’s got the comedy and humor of the Addams Family and Scream, the intricate family dynamics of Dynasty and Downton Abbey with the feminist touch of The Last Jedi and Dark Phoenix.
It takes the dream wedding day, locks it into a multi million dollar mansion, hands all family members an antique weapon and turns it into a disturbing game of survival for the bride as part of her initiation into the family.
The Le Domas family are the fictitious equivalent of Milton Bradley or Parker Brothers have made their billion dollar empire on board games and fittingly so, a tradition for new members entering the family is to play a game. Sometimes it’s chess, sometimes it’s Old Maid, but every now and again, it’s a deadly game of hide and seek as part of some age old pact the patriarch of the family made with the devil a lifetime ago. Whoops!
Ready or Not takes this formula, twists it up and plays it out with humour, mysterious back stories setting up the intertwined complicated history while managing to reel us into enough of an emotional investment to keep us guessing who will be the heroine’s night and shining armour.
The accidental deaths of the hired help served (see what I did there) some of the funniest moments throughout the film as bodies pile up and family loyalties and relationships are tested throughout the hunt.
It’s really over the top with a somewhat reasonable ending but the build up is what makes this film to be the one to watch over the Halloween season with its cartoonish humour that turns every kill into an act of empowerment.