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Saturday , October 23 2021

A horrific wedding night in ‘Ready’

Weaving didn’t mean to hurt MacDowell

This image provided by Fox Searchlight Pictures shows Kristian Bruun (from left), Melanie Scrofano, Andie MacDowell, Henry Czerny, Nicky Guadagni, Adam Brody and Elyse Levesque in the film ‘Ready or Not’. (AP)

Traditionally, weddings usually lead to some fun and games in the bedroom for the happy and exhausted couple. In the new horror-thriller “Ready or Not”, that’s definitely true – but the games aren’t always fun.

Samara Weaving has a breakout performance as a new bride who tries to stay alive until dawn after her wedding day as her in-laws hunt her down and try to kill her. (Talk about an awkward brunch the next morning.) It’s a well-plotted film that excellently mixes gore and humor while also offering some social commentary by torching the clueless rich.

Weaving plays Grace, a foster kid who yearns for family, who marries Alex Le Domas, the scion of a wealthy family that built its fortune on games. Whenever a new member tries to join the clan, they have a “weird family ritual” – they play a game. Sometimes it’s checkers or Old Maid. Sometimes its hunt-down-the-newcomer.

This last possibility is not exactly well communicated by her betrothed, surely a candidate for Worst Groom Ever, played by Mark O’Brien. “It’s not too late to flee, you know,” he tells her. She replies, but without knowing the full consequences: “No, thank you. I’m all the way in.” Grace then, unfortunately, picks the most dangerous game of all.

But this time, the Le Domas family has found a worthy challenger. Grace will not go quietly, ripping her wedding dress so she can be more mobile – a nod to Uma Thurman’s angry bride in “Kill Bill” – ditching her heels for a pair of Converse high tops and fighting back. “This doesn’t end well for you,” she is warned.

“Ready or Not” has a script by Guy Busick and R. Christopher Murphy, who seem to have played many games of Clue, and is directed by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett, as well as executive produced by Chad Villella, the latter trio collectively known as Radio Silence.

The filmmakers have a fun time chasing the bride and an ever-exasperated family – which includes a deliciously nasty Andie MacDowell as well as Kristian Bruun, Melanie Scrofano, Henry Czerny, Nicky Guadagni, Adam Brody and Elyse Levesque – but they also have time for some digs at the hypocritical ultra-wealthy.

The poor Le Domas servants are the first to meet their demise, mowed down by accident by the drug- or drink-addled aristocrats. “Why does this always happen to me?” one rich in-law wails after her crossbow shoots an arrow into a maid’s skull.


A portrait emerges of a family desperate to hold onto its exclusivity and privilege, even to the point of murder. “It’s true what they say. The rich really are different,” one of them explains. They may wear dinner jackets for dinner but they’re truly savage.

Why is this family named Le Domas? Is it a subtle dig at The Defense of Marriage Act or DOMA? Is it perhaps an anagram for “Lame Dos”? Maybe it’s a knock on European-loving Yanks? Could it be a crude schoolyard taunt? Who knows? We’re never told. It remains an insider joke.

What gets wonderfully communicated is Grace’s will and power. Weaving, the niece of Hugo Weaving (“Lord of the Rings”, “The Matrix”), has a comfort with horror – she’s been in the series “Ash vs Evil Dead” and “The Babysitter” – but absolutely shines in this tricky role. She’s vulnerable, deadpan funny, scared and resolute, turning a role that could have been one-dimensional into something vibrant and authentic.


LOS ANGELES: Samara Weaving didn’t mean to hurt Andie MacDowell, but she did just that while they were rehearsing for their new horror dark comedy “Ready or Not”.

“I hit Andie MacDowell in the face by accident,” Weaving says on this week’s episode of “The Big Ticket”, Variety and iHeart’s movie podcast. “It was horrible. It was the first day I met her.”

They were rehearsing a scene in which the two are fighting. Weaving accidently clocked MacDowell “real bad” in the head with a prop brick. “Everyone freaked out because we didn’t know she was so cool at the time. We were like, ‘Is she going to quit the movie? Is she going to yell at me. Am I going to be fired?’” Weaving recalled. “But she was great. She was like, ‘I just need some ice and it’s fine, everyone. Let’s go again’.”

In the Fox Searchlight film, Weaving stars as Grace, a new a bride who finds herself the target of a deadly game of hide and seek in order to be accepted by her new old-money family. It’s a true fight for survival as her in-laws try to kill her. (Agencies)

At first, Grace runs but then finds herself doing a lot of killing herself. “I wanted her to get mad. I wanted her to get vengeful,” Weaving said. “I didn’t want to watch a woman just crying and screaming for an hour and a half. I wanted there to be some logic. And I think when I read the script, when she says she’s from foster care and was in and out of homes, I thought this chick would be scrappy. She probably has fought before, and she’s sassy. She’s street smart.” (Agencies)

By Mark Kennedy

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