By: Andrea Renney, Arts Editor
First things first: Ready or Not does not star Margot Robbie. I know I’m not alone in thinking that it did; when I told my roommate I was heading to an advance screening of the film, she replied “Oh yeah, Margot Robbie’s in that!” Rather, the film stars Samara Weaving as Grace Le Domas, the newest member of the affluent Le Domas family and the target of a murderous game of hide-and-seek on her wedding night.
Ready or Not is a black comedy/horror film that centres around the Le Domas family, who are big players (no pun intended) in the board game industry. Grace is marrying Alex Le Domas (played by Mark O’Brien), who has been estranged from the rest of his family for some time. Marriage is something Grace has always dreamed of — growing up as a foster child, she yearned for a family of her own. Despite Alex’s reluctance towards her getting close with his family, Grace is happy to go along with their decades-old tradition of playing a game on the night of someone new marrying into the family.
The Le Domas family is exceptionally wealthy, and their castle-like home is a grandiose display of old-school opulence. They’re caricatures of the upper-crust bourgeoisie society: they self-medicate, are in loveless marriages, and prove to be incompetent when forced to do independent tasks. Additionally, they’re also extremely superstitious, and genuinely believe that they need to follow the rules surrounding the wedding night game or risk being killed in some mysterious, spectacular way.
After the night’s game is chosen and Grace discovers “hide-and-seek” is more like “hide-or-get-killed” in the Le Domas family, Alex reveals himself to be spineless and pathetic. This is proven by his failure to tell Grace about his family’s “little tradition” for new family members out of fear of her calling off their engagement and leaving him. He is selfish. We do not like Alex.
You know who we do like? Alex’s brother, Daniel. Daniel is played by none other than Adam Brody, who you might remember as your middle school crush from The OC, Seth Cohen. Daniel is extremely cynical and, unlike the rest of the Le Domases, eschews his family’s excessive wealth; he does, however, struggle with actually cutting himself off from them. He’s basically what Seth Cohen would have grown up to be, had the Cohen/Nichol family been a bit more murderous and if his father hadn’t been Sandy Cohen.
The majority of the film sees Grace running through the sprawling Le Domas estate, evading her new family members, and foiling their attempts at capturing her so they can sacrifice her in their Satan-worshipping ritual — yes, that’s actually part of the game. To be fair, the family is really only playing along for fear of what might happen to them if they don’t complete the ritual by sunrise. Still, watching rich people try and (mostly) fail at their own misguided games is deliciously satisfying.
One clever scene involves the family members subverting the rules of the game to give themselves an advantage. They know that Grace is winning, so they hastily justify a change to the rules that serves to benefit them and disadvantage her. If that’s not a commentary on the way our laws and, basically, our society in general favour the upper class, I don’t know what is.
Overall, Ready or Not is the perfect popcorn movie: it’s laugh-out-loud funny, there’s a lot of action to keep you entertained, and it features a lead you actually want to root for. It’s got just enough gore to qualify it as a slasher flick, but not so much that you feel like you’re watching a Saw sequel. And for broke students like us, watching a “regular” person like Grace defeat the privileged and elite feels like a triumph of our own we can all celebrate. It’s almost cathartic.