Ready or Not (***) Here she comes

Ready or Not – 2019

Directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, Tyler Gillett
Screenplay Guy Busick, R. Christopher Murphy
Starring Samara Weaving, Adam Brody, Mark O’Brien, Henry Czerny, Andie MacDowell

There’s a frenetic energy that Samara Weaving puts into her quest for living in Ready or Not that I don’t recall seeing in quite a while. Her ability to shift from happy newlywed to a woman ready to kill for her life is one of the more enjoyable aspects of this humble little thriller.

Weaving is Grace, the beautiful newlywed of Alex (O’Brien), who has been estranged from the Le Domas family for many years. He asked her to marry him because he knew that she would not stay around if he hadn’t. There is a tradition in the Le Domas family that the member marrying into the family play a game at midnight of the day they are married.

The game is random. Sometimes it’s checkers, maybe chess. This year…hide and seek. The catch is Grace is the one that needs to hide, while the members of her new family are the ones who will be seeking her. She thinks it’s silly until someone ends up dead, then she’s taken aside by Alex who fills her in on the details.

Since the game hide and seek is what she drew randomly, she is now supposed to be caught and killed before sunrise. Her disbelief is quickly overcome by a desire to survive. Weaving shows a believable range from comic, to frantic and then to vengeful.

Czerny and MacDowell play a convincing couple who are fully onboard with the deal. Czerny patriarch Tony has been a deliciously miserable sot ever since I first saw him in Clear and Present Danger. MacDowell’s been out of the spotlight for so long, it doesn’t even feel like she’s playing against type as his wife and matriarch Becky.

There is nothing in the film that will surprise the viewer. Especially obvious is the foreshadowing of the first scene between the two young boys. One doesn’t need to rely exclusively on plot to enjoy Weaving’s torrential performance.

(*** out of *****)

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