(Release Info London schedule; August 25th, 2019, Cineworld Leicester Square, 5-6 Leicester Square, London WC2H 7NA, United Kingdom, 6:30 pm)
"Ready Or Not"
"Ready Or Not" follows Grace (Samara Weaving), a young bride, as she joins her new husband’s Alex Le Domas (Mark O’Brien) rich, eccentric family in a time-honored tradition that turns into a lethal game with everyone fighting for their survival.
In "Ready Or Not", the stakes are high as a newlywed literally fights for her life, trying to survive her in-laws in a deadly game of hide and seek on her wedding night. Grace is a spirited young woman from modest beginnings who has been wooed by wealthy Alex. Their 18-month courtship is culminating in a marriage ceremony at his family estate, where the mansion is imposing and so is 'The Le Domas Clan', headed by Alex’s parents Tony (Henry Czerny) and Becky (Andie MacDowell). With a fortune built on board games, this eccentric family is bound by time-honored traditions. The rich really are different, Alex’s brother Daniel (Adam Brody) cautions Grace before she heads down the aisle. The wedding goes off without a hitch, but the carefully planned celebration has a detour mapped out for the bride. Grace, still in her wedding dress, unsuspectingly joins her new husband and in-laws for a midnight gathering to play what they describe as a traditional family game. As a new member of the family, she must draw a card from a deck to determine which game they will all play, as danger lingers in the air, Grace unsuspectingly chooses the rare 'Hide And Seek' card. With only a few moments head start, Grace is to leave Alex behind and stay hidden and quiet somewhere on the premises. The others fan out to find her before sunrise. Soon Grace makes the terrifying discovery that she's being hunted in lethal blood sport. Pushed to her limits physically and emotionally, Grace becomes hellbent on not only staying alive, but attempts to change the game forever by fighting back in any way she can.
'The Le Domas Family' is dysfunctional and deadly. On day one, with a bow-and-arrow being pointed at you, followed by a face being bashed in. Nice to meet you! The film places a young woman into next-level conflict with her new in-laws, a nocturnal fight for survival. Grace is the bride whose shocking discoveries about her new in-laws galvanize her into action. The weapon of choice for Grace in this scenario is, whatever she can get her hands on; yielding some nasty and funny surprises. The audience’s entry into the family’s bizarre backroom rituals comes through the story’s fish out of water heroine, Grace, whose unfortunate destiny is to play the family game to determine her fate. You pick the card and that's your fate, but the card also picks you. There’s a little underlying message that the devil is seeking out people who are pure of heart, and Grace is just that. He can’t wait to get rid of her. But the devil didn’t count on Grace fighting back. There's a fearlessness to the way that she approaches all of her performances, and this movie is going to live or die. With Grace we're turning on it's head the horror genre trope of the final girl; where in many horror films, you've a cast of innocents stalked by one psycho and one final girl remaining to challenge the killer. But in "Ready Or Not" Grace is the only intended victim, one whom several people are hunting. In a lot of horror films women in danger are crying or screaming. This film turns that on it's head and make Grace a bad-ass. What drives her to fight back to survive until the sun rises isn’t fear, although that definitely enters into it. Her fighting back has to be part of her personality as well as her actions. Even when Grace is in her most vulnerable and scared moments, there’s a confidence in the way that she approaches it which maintains believability. She has a choice to make. Is she going to be able to rise to the occasion? Is she going to be able to survive? The journey that Grace goes on pulls you in.
Filthy rich and fully loaded, Becky is the matriarch of 'The Le Domas Clan' dominant and willing to pack a punch. She has a cool head and is able to keep things on track as things horribly spiral out of control. She’s very determined to see this through and also try to reestablish a relationship with her son, Alex. She's devoted to her family 100 percent, and they're who they're. She’s very protective of her family and wants things to work out; there's a deep love that she has for her son Alex, which grounds the story. Becky has a dark wit, but she's also the responsible one. No one plays dirtier than the ridiculously rich, and Tony Le Domas is no exception. He's the patriarch of 'The Le Domas Family'. Tony and Becky’s relationship is, he’s a little bit of a hothead and she’s constantly trying to keep him on track. There are things he will not let go. The camera might not be on Tony, and we might not have conversations with him, but he brings things to Tony in the background of a scene; it's so clear to him what the character called for. While 'The Le Domas' parents are reasonably secure in their perches, the next generation has to be a more conflicted group. Daniel is a dark and twisted son, who still carries with him childhood traumas from a previous family game gathering. Daniel brings a sense of humor to the story, so it isn't just darkness; he's very aware of not being one-note. The question within Daniel is there a good person in there? In "Ready Or Not", there’s a nice blend of what’s said and what’s not said.
Alex is Grace’s newly minted husband. He's a prodigal son. He’s torn between his love for his family, his love for Grace and this horrible deal with the devil his family has made. Alex is the most complicated character in the story. He’s a man who thinks he can have everything without sacrificing anything. Alex definitely has his own moral compass. He's already conflicted when we meet him because he doesn’t really know how to broach the subject of his family’s traditions to Grace. Also, he’s used to the lifestyle that his family has provided for him even though at the same time he shuns it. There are moments where you see him fighting what’s underneath what he’s presenting. Emilie (Melanie Scrofano) is Daniel's over-energetic and deadly sister. Her character is a combination of clenched jaw and wide-eyed drug-fueled hyperactivity who has the heart of a sparrow. She's sort of the black sheep of the family. She tries her best and fails spectacularly; that’s why she’s turned to drugs. She’s married to Fitch Bradley and they've two children who are little brats. But she still wants to do right by her family. Charity (Elyse Levesque) is Daniel's wife. In this family game, tradition calls the shots, and Charity doesn’t fit into any one genre.
Fitch (Kristian Bruun) is Emilie’s husband. He's a former frat boy, a little bit past his prime, who's very happy to be part of a very, very rich family. But he's not necessarily willing to make sacrifices. When he’s assigned an old-fashioned crossbow as his weapon, it’s, who’s supposed to be able to do anything with this? Proving that some family traditions are deadlier than others, Aunt Helene (Nicky Guadagni) is bloodthirsty and vengeful. She's a very bitter older woman; Aunt Helene is frustrated because she feels she could have been head honcho of the family. But when she was a young woman, she was led by her heart instead of by loyalty to her family. It’s not every movie you get to have a battle axe on set. Stevens (John Ralston) is the sinister head butler. He's an expert cleaner; in more ways than one. Stevens runs the show and is well aware of 'The Le Domas Family’s' idiosyncrasies. Once the wedding night doesn’t go as planned, he will go to any length to protect the household. Every character has a very fun death. Everyone getting bloody and there’s blood everywhere. All the deaths are devilishly put together. It’s absolutely disgusting. The kills encapsulate the tone of "Ready Or Not". They’re brutal and violent; yet at the same time you can’t help but giggle a little bit.
Another iconic character is Grace's wedding dress. More than any other costume in the film, Grace’s wedding dress externalizes and expresses all that she fights through on this night of fright. The dress represents the course of the movie as a whole; we've always discuss how "Ready Or Not" starts grand and classical before it degrades and degrades. The camera moves get quicker and the music gets crazier. The dress is gorgeous at the start, but by the end? In watching the dress devolve and break down with Grace, audiences will see the garment mimic other memorable, and malleable costumes for genre movie heroines such as Carrie White’s prom dress in "Carrie; Tree Gelbman’s long-sleeved T-shirt in "Happy Death Day"; and 'The Bride' track suit and violently disrupted wedding dress in "Kill Bill". When you see Grace for the first time, you see the dress, and in it she ends up going to extremes. In the movie, there are 15-17 different looks all with the same dress in various stages of disrepair for Grace. Since Grace is, as she readily admits, a woman from humble beginnings marrying into a wealthy family, she has grown up idolizing someone like Kate Middleton, and now dresses as who she thinks the family would want to see. The dress needs to have a rich undertone and not be the classic off-white movie white. It's a warm cream color, almost yellow. The dress is a road map of what transpires with Grace. Grace sneaker shoes area sort of reference to her past life, and to show how down-to-earth and casual she's. It's also the color of optimism, which Grace must keep within her. As the night darkens and Grace is plunged into kill-or-be-killed violence, the dress itself takes on darker hues. She's got the same thing on, but it’s gotten tattered and bloody and so has the corset she wears underneath.
Grounding this fantastical story of a devil-worshipping family can only be done with perfectly ominous and creepy locations. To cement an authenticity to the film,"Ready Or Not" uses practical locations and physical effects. By not relying on typical visual effects. A lot of what you’ll see in the movie is done practically, which is fun to kind of roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty, literally, on this movie. The requirements of the action-packed and highly physicalized script necessitated that not one, but three locations be pressed into service to embody 'The Le Domas Estate'. Oshawa, 'Ontario’s Parkwood Estates' is one of Canada’s last remaining grand estates and was once the private residence of 'General Motors Of Canada' founder R.S. McLaughlin. The film uses 'Parkwood’s' surrounding lands for the wedding ceremony sequences, and a number of it's 55 rooms are given over for filming "Ready Or Not" interior scenes. The historic 'Casa Loma'; the only full-sized castle within range of 'North America', was built in 1911 at a cost of some $3.5 million and remains a top destination for visitors to the city. 'Casa Loma' afforded the "Ready Or Not" troupe winding and ornate interiors for deadly pursuits; and the family’s board games ethos can be seen as further manifesting in the form of 'The Clue-Style' trappings. The camera moves around and follow characters, fast!, through hallways and into rooms. So even though you don’t have the comfort and the control of being on a soundstage, there’s a lot of creativity that results.
“Ready Or Not" is a little bit outside the box. This film has an unique blending of comedy, adventure, and horror, with an eye for original screenplays that are comparably distinctive. It's about the idea of taking a conventional story to the extreme. You take something that’s as familiar and relatable as marrying into a family and give it a genre bend in a playful way, but also in a dangerous and extreme way. The stakes are deadly in "Ready Or Not". It's very character-driven. The movie is terrifying but there’s also a hint of mischief in it and a hint of the absurd. It's a female-driven thriller, both contemporary and timeless. It's difficult to understand the tone of this movie and know to balance the irony and comedy with horror. Crafting a good scare is actually similar to crafting a good joke. You set it up and there's a punchline. The look and feel of the family’s classic board games, and the sinister backstory of 'The Le Domas Dynasty' is the extra touch the film needs. The film responds to the classic games feel dating back to carnivals, with a sense of history. There are secret passageways. The rumor is that there’s a ghost.
It’s beyond opulent. Many body bags and many blood bags. Keeping the physical element of props and stunts raises the stakes a bit more, when you actually have the blood there. It puts you more into the world you’re playing. There's a light version make of rubber, and a much heavier version make out of metal. You can use mop oil, shaving cream, your own saliva; that’s the magic trifecta. But she cautions that when making a genre movie. Don't send things to dry cleaners. It never goes over well; they will get freaked out, no matter how well you know them. This movie is such a mix of gags, and great character stuff and that’s what makes the movie so exciting.