By Mark Saldana

Rating: 3.5 (Out of 4 Stars)

From directors Matt Bettinelli-Opus and Tyler Gillett comes a wicked dark comedy that takes a childhood staple and turns it into a “most dangerous game.” With a screenplay by Guy Busick and R. Christopher Murphy, the directors offer audience delightfully disturbing and twisted doses of violence, strategy, gallows humor and surprises. Ready or Not won’t appeal to all audiences, but those who relish in black comedy mixed with gore and suspense will revel in this movie’s subversion.

Samara Weaving stars as Grace, a sweet, humble, but brassy bride-to-be about to marry into a rich, powerful and possibly dysfunctional family. Though the groom Alex (Mark O’Brien) has his issues with his family, he and Grace have reluctantly agreed to have their wedding on the family’s lavish estate. Thankfully, the wedding celebration goes well without any problems, the family has an eccentric tradition for ending the wedding night with a game. As she is to be the new addition to the Le Domas family, Grace must randomly choose from a box of game options. Well, Grace fatefully chooses the game of “hide and seek,” which initially seems harmless. However, with this game selection comes a high price as Grace spends the rest of her night fighting to survive.

As a big fan of dark, demented comedies, this movie certainly proved to be my kind of flick. The mixture of sharp witted writing and superb comic timing makes the film so damn entertaining. Though the film does deliver plenty of devilish laughs, it also features some genuinely tense, unnerving and cringeworthy moments. And when I say cringeworthy, I mean it in a positive way. The filmmakers have created a fiendishly satire of greed and selfishness that gets a bit absurd that one has to laugh and enjoy its insanity.

Adding to the craziness, humor and villainy, the entire cast performs admirably in their respective roles. Samara Weaving gives a tremendous performance as a woman pushed to the limits of her sanity. It is prime “final girl” territory and Weaving definitely steps up and delivers splendidly. The movie also features fantastic work by Adam Brody, Mark O’Brien, Henry Czerny, Andie McDowell, Melanie Scrofano, Elyse Levesque, Kristian Bruun, and John Ralston. I must also especially acknowledge Nicky Guadagni who gives a wickedly scenery-chewing turn as Alex’s nasty Aunt Helene.

If there is one big takeaway from this movie it is that the wealthy and powerful can be crazy and they will resort to insane measures to keep what is theirs. This theme will always be relevant in stories, but Ready or Not uses it in a fresh and exciting way that is truly memorable. As dark and twisted as this film’s premise is, one can only laugh and laugh heartily at the ridiculousness of it all.

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