It would be easy enough to make a horror movie out of the children’s game hide-and-seek, just as it was no problem making one out of truth or dare last year. Making it into a good movie, though, takes more effort, and I’m glad the filmmaking collective known as Radio Silence went to the trouble for “Ready or Not” and created a gonzo setting for the familiar game. On the day of her wedding, Grace (Samara Weaving) learns that her husband’s rich, awful family has a tradition for new members wherein they must play a randomly selected game. (The Le Domas family made its fortune on board games and such.) Grace draws the “hide-and-seek” card, which unfortunately has the extra stipulation that when they find her, they’ll kill her.
Grace’s new husband, Alex (Mark O’Brien), is not happy with these rules (which stem from generations-old superstitions), but everyone else is onboard: the fatuous family patriarch (Henry Czerny), the snaky mother (Andie MacDowell), the alcoholic brother (Adam Brody) and his vain wife (Elyse Levesque), the cocaine-addled sister (Melanie Scrofano) and her idiot husband (Kristian Bruun), and terrifying Aunt Helene (Nicky Guadagni), whose exaggerated scowl alone is enough to establish that the cat-and-mouse horror is to be played for laughs.
Directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett (who worked together on segments for the anthologies “V/H/S” and “Southbound”) have fun with the idea of a bunch of petulant, whiny, panicky rich morons hunting someone who’s smarter than they are, but the main draw is Samara Weaving as the fierce, fed-up Grace, who gets put through the wringer (not literally) but remains unstoppable. She joins the ranks of memorable B-movie heroines who spend most of the runtime covered in blood but eventually give everyone what they deserve. The film is fun, just-gory-enough mayhem with a wicked sense of humor and a smattering of “eat the rich” populism.
B (1 hr., 35 min.; )