REVIEW: READY OR NOT serves up originality and subverts tropes in the summer’s best horror film.


Radio Silence’s latest film is a stylish original horror tale that follows in the vein of films like The Cabin in The Woods, Get Out, You’re Next, and Evil Dead in delivering a unique and subversive genre film that seems destined to be a perennial cult favorite.

It’s quite an accomplishment when a high-concept film manages to effectively land and do justice to its premise while at the same time being an engaging film experience. Ready or Not manages this juggling act in creating a unique genre experience that plays off some familiar tropes like the idea of the final girl and survival horror and does so with aplomb and a new original voice in film.

Ready or Not follows the Le Domas family on the eve of the marriage of prodigal son Alex (Mark O’Brien), the estranged scion of a family whose fortune is based on a successful board game dynasty, to sarcastic outsider Grace (Samara Weaving). Alex has been estranged from his family for years and has only come together with the on the occasion of his marriage due to a long-standing family tradition. On the wedding night of a new member of the Le Domas family, the whole family must come together to play a game chosen at random from a box given to the Le Domas from their longstanding benefactor, Mr. La Bail. Grace, who has long sought the stability of a family and sees the open possibility of marriage as a way to achieve that after years of growing up in foster care. Alex cares deeply for Grace but is torn between a family duty to the wedding night tradition of his family and the need to escape their influence. Grace sees his reticence but is also entreated by his mother Becky (Andie McDowell) to help draw the family closer together. That all goes up in the air when Grace draws the Hide and Seek card from the La Bail box which makes her the target of a deadly version of the game whose stakes are not only her life but the bonds of her relationship with Alex.

Honestly, the less you know going into Ready or Not, the better the film experience is. Needless to say, there will be some who will instantly draw the parallel to films like You’re Next and Get Out and label this in the survival horror genre. The film is not that simple, it hews much more in spirit to 2010’s The Cabin in The Woods in telling a tale that on the surface seems familiar but subverts it in terms of genre and expectations. Rather than become the prey for a pack of hunters, Grace turns the tables and grows from being a victim to a stubborn and ornery survivor, not unlike Ash’s arc in the early Evil Dead films. The film’s script also does a good job of giving the characters an inner life, from Adam Brody’s Daniel to Henry Czerny’s patriarch Tony, we understand these characters and their motivations from the jump and see them change and progress as the night’s game wears on. Weaving demonstrates the kind of outsider charm that made her such a hoot in Netflix’s The Babysitter and makes her a very likable protagonist here.

Overall, Ready or Not is one of the summer’s most original films and also one of the most engaging with the film’s darkly comedic tone at times channeling films as unlikely as Heathers and Rosemary’s Baby. Check out Ready or Not, you’ll be glad you made the choice if you’re a fan of engaging genre fare.