Ready or Not (3 stars)

Ready or Not

Manically entertaining comedy horror, featuring rock-solid work from Samara Weaving as a gutsy bride

While the excitement surrounding the Downton Abbey movie has preoccupied many, it's not the only country pile that forms the backdrop of a new film this month. In comedy horror Ready or Not, the house is a major player, as family newcomer Grace (Samara Weaving) must fight for her survival in just about every room of an imposing manor.

Scripted by Guy Busick and Ryan Murphy (not the American Horror Story guy), the zippily put-together Ready or Not is built on a delicious premise. The eccentric Le Domas family, whose obscene fortune comes from selling board games, live by one tradition: every time someone marries into their midst, on their wedding night, they must select a card and play a game.

The fresh-faced Grace – set to wed Alex (Mark O'Brien) – draws the short straw: a deadly take on hide-and-seek that lasts until dawn. Suddenly, she finds everyone is after her blood – including Alex's father Tony (Henry Czerny), mother Becky (Andie MacDowell), brother Daniel (Adam Brody) and various other nutjob relatives. Not even the bickering Crawley clan behaves this badly.

Why the need to take Grace's life? Well, that would be telling but, suffice to say, you don't get this rich without striking some decidedly iffy deals. The Australian-born Weaving, recently seen in the TV remake of Picnic at Hanging Rock, delivers a rock-solid turn as the initially bewildered bride who overcomes her fears to take on the deranged brood at their own game.

In this manic midnight movie, directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett (Devil's Due) strike a neat balance between action, gushing gore and Trading Places-style wealth satire. It's not perfect – whether it's the over-the-top CGI of the finale, or the willingness to sacrifice character development for bloodletting. But, for a late-night trip to the flicks, it's ideal.

General release from Wed 25 Sep.

Ready or Not

  • 3 stars
  • 2019
  • US
  • 1h 35min
  • 18
  • Directed by: Matt Bettinelli-Olpin/Tyler Gillett
  • Cast: Samara Weaving, Adam Brody, Mark O'Brien

Grace (Weaving) is all set to wed Alex (O’Brien) when she finds that his eccentric family wants her to play a deadly game of hide and seek. It strikes a neat balance between action, gore and Trading Places -style wealth satire, and Weaving gives a rock-solid turn as the initially bewildered bride who has to overcome her…