Ready or Not isn't the horror movie you're expecting

Ian Sandwell
Photo credit: Fox Searchlight / Eric Zachanowich

From Digital Spy

Note: Contains mild spoilers for Ready or Not.

UK audiences have had to wait more than a month for buzzy US horror movie Ready or Not to arrive in cinemas, and they might be surprised – in a good way – by what they find.

In a nutshell, Ready or Not sees newlywed bride Grace (former Home and Away star Samara Weaving) experience the worst wedding night ever when her husband's family decides to hunt and kill her.

It's all part of a bizarre long-running tradition where every new addition to the family has to play a game on her wedding night, linked to a mysterious deal that was made generations ago to ensure the family's enormous wealth.

Grace is unlucky enough to pick Hide and Seek, the one game that requires a human sacrifice, kickstarting a desperate quest for survival until dawn. But it doesn't quite pan out as you'd expect.

Photo credit: Fox Searchlight / Eric Zachanowich

From both that synopsis and the movie's bloody trailer, which sees Grace brutally beating someone (presumably to death), you'd be forgiven for thinking that Ready or Not would be an 'us vs them' survival horror.

You're thinking that Grace will be left with no choice but to fight back against the family, potentially with her new husband on her side as he attempts to help her overcome his family's horrific ritual.

And yet, Ready or Not is much smarter than that.

We're going to go into some mild spoilers, so look away now if you don't want to know anything.

Photo credit: Fox Searchlight / Eric Zachanowich

Once Grace realises the gravity of the situation she's in, she's immediately in flight mode (as we all would be) and determined to get out of the mansion.

Her husband Alex (Mark O'Brien) wants to help her, going to the security-control room to unlock the doors and windows. He succeeds but his family discovers his betrayal and locks him up to stop him interfering further.

At one point, Grace – who manages to escape through the kitchen – is outside the room where Alex is locked up. You worry that she's going to head back into the mansion to rescue him, only to find herself in more danger when she should just get the hell out of there.

Photo credit: Fox Searchlight / Eric Zachanowich

Ready or Not plays on this expectation and instead has Grace run away, leaving her spouse to the will of his family. Every decision Grace makes is constantly with a mind to her escape, rather than indulge any notion of fighting back.

Too many times in horror movies, our response to a character's decision is, 'Why don't they just run?'

Grace doesn't make the usual irritatingly dumb choices – her thought is always about her survival first, as it should be.

Of course, as Ready or Not ramps up, there are moments where Grace is left with no choice to fight back for her own survival, but she's never resorting to violence for violence's sake. Grace is a character we can firmly get behind throughout, never frustrated by her choices and always on her side.

Photo credit: Fox Searchlight / Eric Zachanowich

It helps that Samara Weaving is fantastic in the role, fully committed to the darker aspects and with impeccable comic timing. She sells the movie's outrageous final ten minutes, delivering one of the most entertaining final sequences of the year.

Not that we'll spoil that for you as it's quite something to behold. As with the rest of Ready or Not, expect the unexpected.

Ready or Not is out now in the US and is released in UK cinemas on September 25.

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