Combustible Celluloid
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With: Samara Weaving, Mark O'Brien, Henry Czerny, Andie MacDowell, Nicky Guadagni, Adam Brody, Melanie Scrofano, Kristian Bruun, Elyse Levesque, John Ralston, Hanneke Talbot, Celine Tsai, Daniela Barbosa
Written by: Guy Busick, Ryan Murphy
Directed by: Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, Tyler Gillett
MPAA Rating: R for violence, bloody images, language throughout, and some drug use
Running Time: 95
Date: 08/22/2019

Ready or Not (2019)

3 Stars (out of 4)

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By Jeffrey M. Anderson

After a segment in the horror anthology V/H/S (2012) and then a rather sad attempt at a feature debut a few years back (Devil's Due), co-directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett of the Radio Silence collective turn in this delightfully tense, squeal-inducing chase film, based on a clever idea and a handful of tight comic performances. In Ready or Not, Samara Weaving (The Babysitter, Ash vs Evil Dead, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri) steals the show as Grace, a pretty young blue-eyed bride who has escaped a series of foster homes to marry Alex Le Domas (Mark O'Brien), an heir to a family that made its fortune in games. As part of her wedding night initiation into the family, she must play a game, based on a random card drawing. Unfortunately, she draws Hide and Seek, which means that the wealthy family must kill the poor girl before dawn, or terrible things will happen. Suffice to say that her beautiful white wedding dress turns into something closer to John McClane's tank top, torn, and caked with blood and grime and she spits out disbelieving quips. Ready or Not is certainly briskly made and suspenseful, and it's funny, too, although it doesn't always know how to invite laughter; the comedy is often so brutal that it gives one pause before a chuckle has a chance to emerge. Henry Czerny and Andie MacDowell play the heads of the family, Nicky Guadagni is the astonishingly severe spinster aunt, with a permanent scowl and white hair plastered straight up like a headstone. Adam Brody, Melanie Scrofano, Kristian Bruun, and Elyse Levesque are the ungrateful children and their spouses, and John Ralston, Hanneke Talbot, Celine Tsai, and Daniela Barbosa are the unlucky house staff.

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