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A twisted tale of power, greed, and corruption, “Ready or Not” is a fantastical horror grounded in the reality of the root of all evil.

Ready or Not

As we look into our now empty wallets after the holiday season, I give you a tale of riches and ill-gotten gains.

Taking the glamour of wealth and the dryness of high society, Ready or Not took on superstition and class in a way that I haven’t seen done so well until The Fall of the House of Usher.

Exploring the thought processes and the history of the elite, this film unveils one family’s deep-seated belief in power that brings them wealth and the privileges that accompany such money.

I wanted to explore some of the traditions, superstitions, and organizations the wealthy tend towards, as well as some of the myths surrounding acquiring wealth and the detriment it can have on the souls of some individuals.

Ready or Not came to the family table prepared to eat the rich and give a rousing toast to the treachery of family and the sin of greed.

Making formal weddings even more of a miserable, tiresome affair, the La Domas family would like to invite you to the union of Grace (Samara Weaving) and their estranged son Alex (Mark O’Brien).

After a brief flashback to failed unions past, we arrive in the present with a beautiful Grace, reciting her vows and nervously puffing away at a cigarette before her photos. She will marry into the illustrious La Domas family, the heir to a board game empire and fortune that’s generations in the making.

While Alex would be content to elope, Grace wants to meet the family and prove she’s not the gold-digging hussy they are eyeing her up to be.

Ready or Not

The family in Ready or Not isn’t all that warm to start.

Daniel, with his moderate drinking problem, is a little over-friendly and tends not to try and mind his uptight, snobbish wife, Charity. Meanwhile, Alex’s cocaine-addicted sister Emelie is with a bumbling fool, Fitch, and two screaming children.

The only words of reassurance come from Alex’s mother, Becky. She senses that the girl feels her “blood isn’t blue enough,” a similar story to what she was told when she married into the family. She also lights up a friendly cigarette, showing maybe not every rich person is as uptight as the next.

After the ceremony is done, the family truly comes together to celebrate the night.

Patriarch Tony explains that their great-grandfather, a merchant seaman, once met a man only referred to as “le Bail” on a voyage. Le Bail shared a love of games and supposedly had a puzzle box, and if the mystery was solved, le Bail swore to finance any endeavor the man chose.

Obviously, the box is solved, and now, it is used for a new purpose: to select games for new players. Every new member of the La Domas family must play a game on their wedding night; some have chess, others have Old Maid, but there are many cards in the deck, and only one you don’t want to pull: hide and seek, which is precisely what Grace is given.

Unaware that this game is life or death for both parties, Grace gamely toasts Le Bail and sets off to her hiding spot while the rest of the family prepares to be short one inlaw.

Wealth and Superstition

Ready or Not

I started researching the belief patterns of businessmen and the wealthy to see if there was much information on this phenomenon of special rituals, beliefs, or groups that attracted successful people.

While some practices are rather bizarre to hold on to your wealth, like never letting a handbag touch the floor, keeping cinnamon in your wallet, or hammering coins into a tree, there are more grounded practices that have been around for ages that are supposed to bring good fortune. According to some CEOs and experts, businessmen are more likely to be somewhat superstitious due to the volatility of the market and consumers, causing them to believe in patterns or breakthroughs that could just be attributed to normal market trends.

The Economic Times posted an article in 2012 documenting the behaviors of Indian businessmen and the things they would tend to do before a large deal or after a sale: on the day of a big deal, it is recommended that businessmen focus on numerology as signs, visit temples on the day of negotiation, and avoid doing deals around the time of an eclipse.

That’s how the everyday successful businessman prepares for his deals, but we are not discussing average people.

In Ready or Not, every new member of the La Domas family is unwittingly submitting to a ritual based on superstition for this family, a powerful belief.

Le Bail (which frankly reminds me of corporate bailouts just from the sound of his name) demands a sacrifice when the game of hide and seek is drawn, arbitrary, but that’s superstition.

The family’s intense search for Grace and the hysteria they descend into as the night goes on show just how deeply rooted this idea is.

Since it has always worked, it must be the truth — and not just a grisly human sacrifice.

Even at the beginning, the family honors the rules of play by disabling cameras and making sure the hunt is as authentic as possible.

Seeing as previously a man was taken and sacrificed in a flashback, it seems this card demands no particular gender, only a partner of a La Domas. I still haven’t quite figured out why some people drew the card and others didn’t. However, the pleading in the man’s voice in the beginning, coupled with Daniel’s remark that Grace has a soul, leads me to believe that purity is a feature that this entity seeks when it presents the hallmark card.

Greed is another key factor in this scenario.

We find that some of the spouses actually knew that hide and seek was a death sentence and chose to play anyway, solidifying their spot through chance survival. Seeing the way Charity and Fitch treat others while merely being extensions of their significant others shows how shallow and needy they are for money and the power it affords them.

Whether or not they believed in the superstition, they rolled the dice, and in a way, the lack of presentation of a card makes the story that much more unbelievable.

Now that the two are confronted with Grace, they are ready to cement their place in the family by being the first to claim a le Bail offering.

On another superstitious note, while there may be speculation that some of the elite are a part of the Illuminati or worship Satan, the La Domas family in Ready or Not fits the bill for some secretive cult activity.

Donning robes and using older weaponry, this hunt is satanic and ritualistic, with battle axes and more available to dispense your target. This family’s sacrifices to an all-seeing, dominant entity reminds me of Verna of The Fall of the House of Usher.

While Madeline gets an IUD because of her concern about a bloodline, Roderick lives a life free of fear, as he has no belief. Verna is the antidote to years of denial as she tears through the Usher family for the sacrifice she’s due.

Much like le Bail, her terms are clear, and when dealing with entities such as this, I can see why some people would be as desperate as the La Domas family is to keep the bargain running if not for the pure benefit than for the sake of their family… but we know how much that matters.

The Financial Times and Pursuitist sites stated that the wealthy (while not brought into a demonic cult that I know of) often join in with cult-like organizations with large capital and a wealthy member base fitting their status. Scientology was referenced as one of the most unorthodox but well-funded groups, with a host of celebrities flying under its dubious banner, making this single wealthy family turning to a spirit from a puzzle box feel a little less insane.

Wellness cults were also marked as a destination for the wealthy by the Financial Times, especially during the pandemic when medicine was supposedly the savior. Wellness is a sign of wealth, according to this, and since the homeopathic treatments and therapies offered are exorbitantly expensive, lower classes often can’t afford these services, making it an elite circle.

That said, don’t be surprised if the wealthiest person you know is part of some kind of class-based organization.

The Family, The Maids, The Butler, and Even the Kids

Ready or Not

What absolutely blew my mind was the fact that people who served the La Domas family in Ready or Not, aka expendables, would help so ambitiously retrieve Grace, even though they were simply “the help” in the eyes of their employers. In fact, I don’t even think one of them was a maid; it was clear she was just a good dancer.

With maids dying left and right from coked-up gunshots or flying objects, we see that, despite their willingness to do in with someone on their own social rung, they are merely corpses to be moved at the end of the day.

The butler, in particular, is rather nasty and takes such glee in fighting a ravenous Grace as she barely misses escaping the manor’s grounds.

Playing the 1812 Overture on full volume in his town car, the butler plays himself into a false sense of security, becoming another pawn in the game and one of the central people in one of the greatest car crash scenes I’ve ever witnessed. Samara Weaving has a scream for the ages.

The in-laws who didn’t draw the deadly game are certainly in line for some of the worst types of people as well.

Charity openly admits she had nothing before this and would rather be dead than return to it, showing where her loyalties rest, and Fitch seems unbothered by the whole thing, watching YouTube videos on how to properly use a crossbow.

The lack of empathy now that they’ve been indoctrinated is painful, and you wonder how someone who could have easily pulled that card can hunt down an innocent stranger.

Charity takes it a step further in her quest to have the best life and shoots Daniel as he protects Grace, allowing her more time to flee.

One of the only selfless gestures of the movie, it was painful to see the man painted as the alcoholic philanderer to be the only one with a heart in the group.

Finally, we see the seeds of evil are planted early in Emelie and Fitch’s children.

After attempting to hide in a barn, Grace runs into one of the children, who promptly shoots her in the hand. She knocks the child out but ends up trapped in a pit with decaying bodies, including proof that the La Domas family does dispatch the losers of hide and seek. It was mind-boggling that a child could be taught such beliefs and encouraged to commit such acts at such a young age.

Committed to killing an innocent person before puberty, it’s clear the family and its belief system have long-lasting impacts on its youngest, priming them to make a choice should their spouse pick the cursed card and normalizing the pursuit.

Wealth connects people, classes divide people, and we see that every person from the servants’ quarters to the kids’ table is prepared to do anything to ensure the gaming dominion, as it preferred to be called, is protected at all costs, as are their small but glamorous seats at the table.

Ready or Not gave us a bloody dose of Eat the Rich and an ending fit for karmic retribution on the short-sighted believers.

Layered with superstitious belief, cult activity, and social and economic divides amongst many characters, Ready or Not film pitted a small army against an underprivileged, under-prepared girl who was only looking for a family to overshadow the foster homes in her past.

Smoking one more stress cigarette in her newly red dress, Samara Weaving stands alone as a flawless final girl who knows money can make you ugly — and maybe being single isn’t so bad.

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