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Film Reviews Ready or Not, here comes a bloody and inventive late-summer movie season surprise

Samara Weaving in Ready or Not.

Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

  • Ready or Not
  • Directed by: Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett
  • Written by: Guy Busick and Ryan Murphy
  • Starring: Samara Weaving, Adam Brody and Andie MacDowell
  • Classification: R; 95 minutes

rating

The 2019 summer movie season calls for grading on a curve. Thanks to a swath of listless sequels, reboots and franchise-extenders, every single movie that comes along from a mainstream studio smelling of even a whiff of originality gets a pass. I’m looking at you, Crawl, and you, too, Good Boys. And so it goes for the new horror-comedy Ready or Not.

The tale of a young bride (Samara Weaving) struggling to survive her wedding night with the in-laws from literal Hell (that’d be Satan devotees played by the spirited Henry Czerny and Andie MacDowell) is assembled from the best pieces of better movies (I spy traces of You’re Next, Get Out, The Game, Society, The Most Dangerous Game and one very cute nod to Hellraiser). But despite its sometimes overwhelming sense of familiarity – including a conceit that feels lifted from last year’s Game Night, an impossible feat given both productions’ development timelines – Ready or Not is still energetic, inventive and bloody enough to permissibly coast on its influences’ fumes.

Bonus points to co-directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett for figuring out how to properly transfer co-star Adam Brody’s smarm to the big screen, after so many other filmmakers have tried and failed. Game over, man. Game over.

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Ready or Not opens Aug. 21

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