- 10 Oct 19
Wedding night turns to wedding fright in subversive horror
If you hold both inherited wealth and the institution of marriage in high regard, it's perhaps best to skip this darkly funny horror from Radio Silence; the filmmaking collective consisting of Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, Tyler Gillett and Chad Villella. Samara Weaving stars as Grace, a woman with no family of her own. Fiancé Alex Le Domas (Mark O'Brien) also has a complicated history with family, which is why Grace only meets her in-laws at the wedding. The Le Domas family are uber-rich, and like most uber-rich people, they are weird. They insist Grace play a game on the wedding night - a traditional initiation into the family.
But unfortunately for Grace, Le Domas' version of Hide And Seek is lethal. The doors to the giant mansion are locked, the lights are extinguished, an oblivious Grace gets a headstart to hide - and the family members pick their weapon of choice, ready to hunt down the blushing bride.
Radio Silence gleefully amp up the caricature callousness of the rich and the macabre stakes of the game. The gothic mansion's labyrinthine expanse and the family's old-fashioned weapons lead to a satisfyingly taut, outrageously gory and wickedly comic cat-and-mouse chase. With candlelight flickering over Grace's increasingly blood-spattered wedding dress as she runs through the halls, Ready Or Not feels like a satirical blend of Clue, The Purge and Rosemary's Baby.
It's all leading to smart and bloody fun, but the underdeveloped screenplay relies too much on cartoonish portrayals of the Le Domases and using expletives as punchlines. Interesting dynamics are hinted at, such as Alex's brother Daniel (Adam Brody) dampening his moral qualms with alcohol, or Daniel's wife Charity (Elyse Levesque), who comes from poverty, and will do whatever it takes to secure her place in the family.
But these threads remain underwritten - as does Grace's character. Weaving's portrayal is sympathetic, taking time to accept what is happening, and subsequently swearing a lot. It's hard not to cheer for a woman literally fighting back against the institution of marriage, and a world where money trumps law and human decency. It's silly subversive fun - it just could have sought out more smarts.