Hide and bleed

Samara Weaving kills in deadly funny black comedy

Starring Samara Weaving, Andie MacDowell and Henry Czerny. Directed by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett. Cinemark 14, Feather River Cinemas. Rated R.
Rated 3.0

After strong but smallish roles in Ash vs Evil Dead and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Samara Weaving plays the lead in Ready or Not and totally kills it.

As Grace, a newlywed who has one of the worst wedding days in cinema history—right up there with Uma Thurman in Kill Bill—Samara is so good it makes you wonder how she hasn’t had more starring roles in her 11 years of acting. She commands the screen with a fierce, comedic energy that helps make Ready or Not a memorable, if predictable, horror/thriller show.

Directed by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett, the movie is a scathing indictment of both affluence and the institution of marriage—all in good fun, of course.

When we meet Grace, she’s about to marry Alex Le Domas (Mark O’Brien) and enter into a very rich family. That family, led by Tony (Henry Czerny) and Becky (Andie MacDowell) Le Domas, has built its empire upon board games and sports teams, so their requirement that Grace play a game with them on her wedding night, while wacky, makes some sense.

As part of a family rite, Grace must draw a card from a mystery box and determine which game to play with her new in-laws. The card she draws reads “Hide and Seek.” As it turns out, she probably would’ve been much better off drawing chess or checkers. Armed with an array of both modern and antique weapons (from guns to crossbows) and a bewilderingly crazed purpose, the Le Domas family—which includes seemingly grounded brother Daniel (Adam Brody) and crazily bitter Aunt Helene (Nicky Guadagni)—is determined to find and kill Grace before dawn. Hey, tradition is tradition.

Unfortunately for them, Grace won’t go easy. She’s got a lot of fight in her, and a lot more than just one person will be dying on this wedding night.

Czerny is especially outrageous as the dad who refuses to veer from tradition, and MacDowell, who has developed a reputation for a being a little bit of a stiff actress through the years, proves perfect as the wicked mom whose bow-and-arrow skills are a little rusty.

Brody has fun as the wild card brother who may or may not be evil, and Guadagni’s permanent scowl is one of the funniest things in the movie. While satire is the main driving force behind the plot, the ending throws a curve that breaks from the predictability of some of the character arcs.

Weaving, who progresses from blushing, pristine bride to blood-smeared, determined warrior delivers pitch-perfect work. Grace remains real throughout, no matter how unreal things get.

While the film is indeed fun, it felt like more of a goof than anything truly eventful. Still, it’s an undeniable good time.

Of note on Weaving’s future slate: playing daughter of Bill (Alex Winter) in next year’s Bill & Ted Face the Music, the long-awaited third film in the franchise. Ready or Not proved that she has the chops for this kind of comedy, and it also showed she has wide range. I wouldn’t be surprised if there were some deep dramas coming her way as well.