Review - 'Ready Or Not'
Movies like Ready Or Not come along every so often, you know, the type of movie that just hits all of the notes you want it to hit, and then hits some others that you didn’t think you wanted, but you most certainly did. Movies like Cabin in the Woods, Dredd and Drag Me to Hell come to mind, just general genre crowd-pleasers that scratch that itch you need scratched once a year or so. It’s comforting to know that that void has been filled for 2019.
In Ready Or Not, a member of the Le Domas family brings back a bride or groom to the family mansion, where at midnight, everyone gathers in the music room and a game is chosen at random. Unfortunately for Grace, the new bride to Daniel De Lomas, she draws the one card that should not be drawn: “Hide and Seek”, a deadly game where the family must hunt her down and perform a ritual sacrifice before sunrise.
You simply can not beat this premise. A deadly game of “hide-and-seek”? A girl versus a group of cult-y rich snobs in a mansion that is seemingly kept running by successful rituals and sacrifices? Sign me up! Directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett knew exactly the yarn they wanted to spin, and they succeeded on just about every level. Ready Or Not isn’t aiming to be the best or most profound film of the year, it’s just trying to get its audience to involuntarily shout “F*** yeah!” at every turn.
It certainly helps that Ready Or Not is paced perfectly. There’s barely ever a dull moment and just when I thought I needed a new wrinkle to the plot, it’s provided. The film makers are also able to execute comedy just as well as horrific, blood-spattered thrills. It’s great when a film knows exactly what it is supposed to be, and is completely true to its tone from beginning to end.
This would have been a borderline perfect movie if not for the final act, which is still pretty great, but lacks some of the inventive sparks that were prominent throughout the first two-thirds of the film. While the final few shots of the movie are almost on the same level of bat-sh*t crazy that Cabin in the Woods was, up until then, it wasn’t quite percolating with the same vigor and inventiveness it had in its first hour.
In terms of the cast, this film is filled with a host of talented actors starting first and foremost with Samara Weaving, who, mark my words, is going to be a huge star going forward. She has that spark that you don’t often see. Weaving knows exactly what type of film she’s in; one that is darkly comic and can switch from comedy to horror on a dime…and also pull off both at the same time. She’s an empowering lead and I was rooting for her from the start. She also serves as a perfect audience surrogate to the weirdness on display.
Adam Brody also does a good job as Grace’s brother-in-law, Daniel De Lomas. He’s one of the few in his family that is staunchly against all of the ritualistic hijinks and has succumbed to a bad drinking habit to assuage his conscience. Mark O’Brien also turns in a good performance as Alex De Lomas, Grace’s husband, who successfully pulls off the juggling act where you don’t know if he is in it to help or hurt Grace. Andie MacDowell and Henry Czerny play Becky and Tony De Lomas, respectively, and their tongue-in-cheek takes on Daniel’s snobby, rich parents are pitch-perfect for the film.
Despite a slightly lacking third act, Ready Or Not is a well-written and highly engaging film that gives its audience just about everything they could want, and wraps things up in delightfully absurd fashion.