When The Running Man meets Clue, you get Ready Or Not – and here’s our review.

Everyone’s family has a few weird quirks or rituals. Maybe there’s a phrase that you all use that no one else does. Maybe there’s a particular meal, or a family day out you do every year to somewhere that no one can make any sense of.

Sharing those quirks with a partner can be frightening. But on the night Grace marries into the De Lomas family she finds that their family quirks aren’t just a little odd. They could prove to be deadly.

Samara Weaving’s Grace feels like she’s wandered in from the wrong film. She seems to be under the impression she’s in a romcom, and when she finds herself in a particularly bloody horror, she doesn’t take to it too kindly. Grace, an orphan marrying into an extremely wealthy family, is socially on the back foot. However, when things turn violent, there’s no great ‘overcoming herself to find the will to fight back’. Right from the off, she’s ready to fight like hell.

Samara Weaving totally owns this film. Because all of the rich family characters are so familiar, her character being so modern and full of life right from the off stands out as exciting. This is a funny and tough performance.

Similarly, the rest of the cast seem to have tuned into the frequency of Ready Or Not and every single one of them puts in a wonderfully hammy turn. Andie MacDowell seems the be having the most fun I’ve ever seen someone have on screen as the southern belle matriarch, while Adam Brody’s more restrained by just a few degrees performance gives his character just an inch more sympathy. I have got no idea why I’m not seeing Adam Brody in more films.

The character relationships are so clearly defined and well-practised that you know that the bickering and snippy comments would be going on all the same, whether at a dinner party or during a blood and guts ordeal. There’s more than a splash of Arrested Development to the Le Domas family.

Perhaps Ready Or Not isn’t the most original film, but it’s so flat out entertaining that you’re all but guaranteed a fun night at the pictures. It takes a familiar concept, improves the characters and then sets about entertaining you. The looming, haunted-house looking mansion that hosts the carnage is stunning, full of impossibly huge rooms and outrageous decoration. It’s a stylish set in a stylish looking film.

There’s just a little set-up before Ready Or Not gets going. Once it does, it’s a riot of violence and silliness for the rest of its run time. Ready Or Not is a giggle-inducing black comedy. For all its jokes, though, there’s genuine tension in there as well. Because it’s willing to go so over-the-top, so grisly and so dark, you can’t be sure how far they’ll go so you have to hold your breath. Directors Bettinelli-Opin and Gillett cannily cash in on this with tension relieving gags.

Playing as sort of weird middle ground between The Running Man, The Purge and Clue, this is crowd-pleasing popcorn horror. Ready Or Not is playful, bloody and brilliant.

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