Review By Frances Winston
Directed by: Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, Tyler Gillett – Starring: Samara Weaving, Adam Brody, Mark O’Brien, Henry Czerny, Andie MacDowell
Many movies poke fun at the ‘in-laws’, and anyone who falls into that category has been the butt of jokes since the concept of marriage was invented. This takes the ‘joke’ to a whole new level, as a bride finds herself hunted by her new family on her wedding night, so they can fulfil an ancient pact with a satanic figure.
Yep – it’s a horror (well it is almost Halloween) but it’s also one of the most tongue-in-cheek and funniest films you will see this spooky season.
Weaving plays Grace – a woman who spent her childhood in foster homes, and so craves a family of her own. Step forward Alex (O’Brien) who is handsome, and the heir to the Le Domas family fortune. He’s practically perfect in every way – except that his grandfather made a pact with a mysterious demon, called Mr. Le Bail, to create the family riches. As payment for this, the family are expected to initiate new members, with games of Le Bail’s choosing – with Hide and Seek proving a deadly option.
Of course, this is the game that Grace draws, and so she is forced to try and evade being killed by her new husband’s family – well at least until dawn. Seriously outnumbered, and with no knowledge of the layout of the house, the odds are definitely against her – if the Le Domas collective can stop bickering enough to actually follow through on the initiation ceremony.
The plot may sound a bit hokey, but it is actually great fun. Directors Bettinelli-Olpin and Gillet have wisely decided not to take the premise too seriously, and, as a result, you feel like you are laughing with them rather than at them. Unlike many films of this genre, the laughs are there deliberately, rather than an unfortunate by-product of some dodgy effects or writing. In fact, the script is fantastic. It is wryly knowing, and perfectly balances the gore with the giggles. This has plenty of jump in your seat moments, to keep the diehard horror fans happy, and one or two simply gross scenes that are a staple of low-budget horror, and will make your stomach churn.
It also has a fabulous cast, who all embrace the premise and just run with it. Weaving is fabulous as she runs the gamut of emotions from blushing bride to betrayed wife, and potential prey for her in laws. She is well-balanced by a motley crew that make up the Le Domas family, and who bounce off each other brilliantly – bickering just like real families do.
Astonishingly, alongside being an absolute blast, this manages to have a deeper cultural critique about greed, wealth, and privilege. There are few people in the audience who won’t be rooting for Grace, as she pits her wits against her selfish and entitled in-laws, and it will really leave you thinking about socio-economic disparity.
This is witty, entertaining, energetic, thought-provoking, and has a whole lotta chutzpah! It’s cheeky take on what could have been a standard story will take you on a roller-coaster ride. Part horror-thriller, part black comedy, and one hundred per cent arresting, this may well prove to be the most fun wedding you’ve never been to!
In Cinemas Now!