Movie Review Monday: Ready or Not
Summer always has its share of big blockbuster films, but it is nice to break away from that for a few smaller releases. That trend continues with the release of the latest comedy horror film, Ready or Not. The film was written by Guy Busick and R. Christopher Murphy, and it was directed by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett. The story follows a woman named Grace who finds herself hunted by her in-laws shortly after her wedding due to an old family arrangement. The film stars Samara Weaving as Grace, and Mark O’Brien plays her newlywed husband, Alex. The film’s cast also includes Adam Brody, Henry Czerny, Andie MacDowell, Nicky Guadagni, Elyse Levesque, and Melanie Scrofano.
The film begins with a view of the many games that have established the Le Domas’ gaming enterprise and fortune. It then pivots to the family many years prior when Alex and his brother, Daniel, were children. A man in a tuxedo runs to them for help, but Daniel reveals his location. The groom is shot with an arrow by another family member, and he is soon dragged away. The movie then transitions to present day where Grace speaks briefly with Alex before their wedding. She can sense his family’s disapproval of her and her background, and while Alex tries to reassure her, he also suggests that they don’t have to get married. They go through with the ceremony, and afterward, Grace is told that it is a family tradition to play a game with the whole family on their wedding night. Grace pulls a card from the box, and she laughs when she discovers the game is hide and seek. However, when she witnesses a maid killed by Alex’s sister, she discovers that she is the target of this deadly game. It soon turns into a fight for survival not just for Grace but also for the family that hunts her.
So, before we address specifics of the movie, it is only appropriate to say that this movie and its premise is absolutely insane. Thankfully, the film sets up the background of the deadly game and the lore behind it quite well, and through it all, the movie just works. The family’s motivations and their longstanding agreement are revealed at the perfect time, and while it is a deadly game they play, the film somehow manages to leverage humor throughout it. The trailer has made us laugh since day one, and this horror comedy is outrageously funny. From the old weapons like the crossbow to the accidental killings of the staff, the progression of events is hilarious. It genuinely takes the idea of a dysfunctional family to a whole new level, and the film earns its R-rating with its inclusion of gore, rituals, and profanity.
While all the parts of the story come together easily, it is Samara Weaving that holds the whole film together. Weaving is incredible, and she makes every one of Grace’s movements and motivations believable. From the initial disbelief and fear to her determination to survive, Weaving makes every moment count and takes what could have been a one-dimensional story and character to new depths. All of the supporting cast give great performances as well with Adam Brody unsurprisingly standing out as the sarcastic, unenthused member in the family’s activities. Their performances highlight the deeper themes, though, about the greed of one family and the sacrifices they are willing to make to maintain their wealth and status.
At the end of the day, Ready or Not is a completely bonkers adventure that draws its audiences in from the opening sequence. The performances are strong, and the movie is a perfect mixture of horror, thriller, and humor. The world and its rules are established well, and the decisions made about cinematography and costuming only add to this deeply dark world. Also, the ending is remarkably well paced in its revelations. This original piece is not one for the whole family, but for those who enjoy dark comedy and horror, then Ready or Not is worth seeing in theaters.
Mollie is a film enthusiast, aspiring writer/screenwriter, and a lover of all things Harry Potter, Star Wars, and Doctor Who. She is the co-founder of The Digital Shore (@thedigitalshore) and Above The Line (@atl_movies). You can follow her many adventures through Twitter and Instagram at @mcbeach.