VOD film review: Ready or Not
Ivan Radford | On 30, Oct 2021
Director: Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, Tyler Gillett
Cast: Samara Weaving, Adam Brody, Andie MacDowell, Mark O’Brien
“I want a divorce,” quips Grace (Samara Weaving) during the events that ensue on the night of her marriage to Alex (Mark O’Brien). To say that it’s a case of the newest member of the family not fitting in is no surprise – the fun lies in seeing just how violently that’s the case.
Directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett, who were partly behind the very first V/H/S anthology back in 2012, have lost none of their dark sense of humour since then, and they take unflinching delight in chronicling the class clash that occurs when Grace gets hitched into the blue-blooded Le Domas empire. We learn that evening of a family tradition not mentioned to her before – a ritual that dates back to the directions of Mr Le Bail, the financial benefactor of their patriarch, great-grandaddy Victor Le Domas. When Grace picks hide and seek, she unwittingly sets in motion a literal hunt that involves guns, crossbows and more.
“Rich people really are different,” Grace remarks, and those kind of barbed comments from the superbly defiant Weaving lace the carnage with a scathing satire that’s delivered with broad grins, buckets of claret and a deceptively feather-light touch. The cast lean into the depraved humour and self-aware wit, from Adam Brody as Alex’s laidback brother, Daniel, to Melanie Scrofano as his intense sister, Emilie, not to mention Nicky Guadagni as the family’s unsettling aunt and Andie MacDowell as the drawling mother of all privilege.
Never shying away from the wealthy dysfunction on display, it’s a romp that’s as political as it is playful, playing out like the cousin to You’re Next or Severance. But the script’s strength lies in the fact that this is a cat-and-mouse thriller at heart – it’s a cat-and-mouse thriller born out of a world where the cats always get to make the rules, but there’s tension in that simplicity that means that this barrels along with cheeky charm. Will Alex or Daniel be able to change their ways and help our underestimated hero? Either way, we know this marriage’s problems have blown up way beyond saving.