Warning: This article contains major SPOILERS for Ready Or Not.
Let's dive into Ready Or Not's ending and the complex rules of the film's deadly game of hide-and-seek. Directed by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett (Devil's Due), Ready Or Not stars Samara Weaving as Grace, a beautiful bride marrying into the fabulously wealthy Le Domas family. But immediately after saying "I do", Grace learns from her new husband Alex (Mark O'Brien) that she must play a game at midnight as part of their eccentric tradition for anyone new joining the family. The game turns out to be a violent version of hide-and-seek as the Le Domas clan hunts Grace throughout their opulent mansion as part of a bizarre ritual.
In the film's final act, an injured, bloody, and desperate Grace's attempt to flee the Le Domas mansion is foiled when she's captured by Stevens (John Ralston), the butler, whom Grace then kills when she causes a car crash. Unfortunately, Grace is tricked by Daniel (Adam Brody) and she's finally subdued and brought back to the mansion to complete the family ritual: she has to be sacrificed to the mysterious Mr. Le Bail, the Le Domas clan's original benefactor, in a Satanic ritual before dawn or else the family fears they'll all instantly die. In a series of twists and turns, a guilt-ridden Daniel frees Grace and tries to help her escape, but he's shot and killed by his own wife, Charity (Elyse Lesvesque). As Alex watches his brother die, their mother Becky (Andie MacDowell) tries to murder Grace but the bride fights off her mother-in-law and pummels her to death. When Alex sees Grace has killed his mom, he turns on his new wife and forces her into the ritual sacrifice. The remaining Le Domas family then perform the ritual right as dawn beckons.
However, Alex can't go through with stabbing Grace in the heart and he instead impales her shoulder, breaking the ritual. As the family is aghast, they realize it's now dawn and they're all still fine. Their joy doesn't last, however, as each Le Domas family member spontaneously combusts, bursting into bloody chunks all over the room as a delighted Grace, covered in blood and body parts, laughs. Alex, however, thinks he's the sole survivor until he, too, explodes after Grace demands, "I want a divorce!" Grace is left as the only person who survived the night - and deservedly so.
A gleefully entertaining black comedy crossed with gruesome survival horror, Ready Or Not is layered with a complex set of rules and mythology that is revealed throughout Grace's ordeal with her in-laws from hell. Here's everything that the Le Domas clan believed about their insane traditions and how and why they kill people marrying into their family. Here's a full explainer to Ready or Not's ending.
Ready Or Not's Game Rules Explained
Before getting into the ending, we must first establish Ready or Not's game rules. According to their tradition established by their great-grandfather Victor Le Domas, anyone new marrying into the Le Domas family has to play a game. This is the only way to truly be accepted into the family and prove that they are "one of us". At midnight, the new bride or husband sits with the rest of the Le Domas family in a special Family Room (which is forbidden to anyone else). The newest addition then places a blank card into a special box given to Victor by Mr. Le Bail; the box will then "choose" what game the family will play.
In most cases, the box will inscribe a board game on the blank card to play but, every once in a while, it will choose hide-and-seek, as it did with Grace. When this happens, a creepy song will suddenly play on the phonograph marking the start of the game. The entire Le Domas mansion is placed on lockdown. Because there were no security cameras when this tradition was established, the cameras are deactivated to make the game "fair". Grace then has until the count of 100 to hide, after which point the family arms themselves with weapons and go on to seek her. The weapons used by the family must only be the traditional weapons kept in the Family Room. In addition, the husband/wife, in this case, Alex, must remain in the Family Room during the game (though Alex immediately escapes in order to help Grace).
Grace has to stay hidden until dawn to win the game; conversely, the Le Domas family has to capture - but not kill - her, despite the lethal weapons they wielded. Grace had to be kept alive and brought back to the Family Room for the final part of the ritual, a Satanic incantation/human sacrifice before dawn, wherein Mr. Le Bail would magically appear in his chair. If the Le Domas family failed to win hide-and-seek, they believed they would all gruesomely die - which is indeed what happened. And, as in-laws Charity and Fitch Bradley (Kristian Bruun), the husband of Emile Le Domas (Melanie Scrofano) discovered, once they're officially married into the Le Domas family, they're also subjected to the penalty of losing hide-and-seek.
Le Domas Family Backstory: Is Mr. Le Bail Really The Devil?
As Tony Le Domas (Henry Czerny) explains in the family history, the Le Domas Dominion (as they prefer to be called) began in the 19th century. Victor Le Domas was a merchant sailor and, during one of the long sea voyages, he played a game of chance with the mysterious Mr. Le Bail. Victor won the game and received the magic black box that became the vessel for how every game is chosen when someone new marries into the Le Domas family. Le Bail also somehow gifted Victor with the ability to earn his vast fortune from board games and playing cards - to the point where the family's vast wealth allowed them to own four professional sports teams.
But the rules the Le Domas family lived by in order to maintain their dominion were also stifling; other Le Domases, like Aunt Helene (Nicky Guadagni), had to sacrifice their new spouse on their wedding night after hide-and-seek. Some of the Le Domas family didn't believe the curse was real, yet they still went through with their terrible rituals out of fear that they could lose everything they had, including their lives. The Le Domases just wrote it all off as the price they must pay in order to maintain their wealth and status.
Ready Or Not strongly implies that Mr. Le Bail is the Devil and Victor Le Domas made a deal with him to become insanely wealthy. Not only is their ritual sacrifice Satanic, but it's centered around Mr. Le Bail magically appearing in his favorite chair - which he briefly does. Grace sees him flicker into the room for a moment after the entire Le Domas family perishes.
Why Alex Le Domas Betrayed Grace
The most duplicitous character in Ready Or Not turned out to be Alex Le Domas. Alex was the prodigal son who left the family for two years, but he eventually returned with Grace, whom he intended to marry. Alex knew Grace, who grew up in foster homes, was desperate to be a part of a real family, and marrying into the insanely wealthy Le Domas Dominion was a dream come true for her. However, Alex didn't tell her about the family tradition and what it could entail until after hide-and-seek was already underway. Alex was never forthright with his bride unless it served his own needs, and his biggest fear was that she would leave him.
Even though Alex was trying to save Grace for part of the movie, he was really struggling with his true nature as a Le Domas and his loyalty to his family. Because Daniel was "the weaker brother," Alex was looked upon as the son who was destined to take over the Le Domas Dominion from Tony - this is why the family was so desperate to have him return to the fold (whether or not Grace survived hide-and-seek). However, Daniel turned out to be more heroic when he succumbed to his conscience and tried to save Grace from the Satanic ritual, even though it meant betraying his family and being killed by his own wife, Charity.
Ultimately, when Alex saw that Grace had killed his mother, he snapped and turned on his new wife. However, Alex could have been gambling: he didn't stab Grace in the heart to complete the ritual because he might have believed that the curse was true, meaning that his family would all die but he wouldn't, so he and Grace could be the lone members of the Le Domas left alive. But Alex is a Le Domas through-and-through, and he also died horribly because they all failed to sacrifice Grace. And it was because Grace survived hide-and-seek (plus she demanded a divorce) that she lived; by the family rules, she proved she wasn't a Le Domas.
What Happens After Ready Or Not's Ending?
At the end of Ready Or Not, the police arrive to find quite a sight: Grace, her wedding dress completely covered in blood and guts, sitting on the steps of the Le Domas mansion, which is burning down. Obviously, Grace would have a lot of explaining to do, but if all of the evidence is destroyed in the mansion fire, she may not be able to prove the insane truth that this billionaire family hunted her and tried to sacrifice her in a Satanic ritual. However, the question of whether Grace signed a prenuptial agreement before marrying Alex also isn't addressed: if Grace didn't (and it's possible Alex didn't ask her to), then this means she could also walk away from her ordeal in Ready Or Not as a billionaire completely in control of the Le Domas Dominion - a reward Grace deserves for what she endured.
- Ready or Not (2019) release date: Aug 21, 2019