'Ready or Not' Review
Ready or Not is a 2019 black comedy horror film directed by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett from a screenplay by Guy Busick and R. Christopher Murphy. The film stars Samara Weaving, Mark O'Brien, Adam Brody, Henry Czerny, and Andie MacDowell.
Grace couldn't be happier after she marries the man of her dreams at his family's luxurious estate. There's just one catch; she must now hide from midnight until dawn while her new in-laws hunt her down with guns, crossbows, and other weapons. As Grace desperately tries to survive the night, she soon finds a way to turn the tables on her not-so-lovable relatives.
Ready or Not was not a film I was all that excited to see. Based on the trailers, it looked like another generic horror film coming at the end of the summer. With that being said, I thought the concept was... strange. It was as generic as it was unique, and as silly as it was ambitious. I really didn't know what to make of it.
If you've seen the trailers, then you know the film's basically a deadly game of hide and seek. Premises like this have a ton of potential, but rarely ever live up to them. I can think of a film like The Purge, or more recently Truth Dare, where the potential was there but the execution was poor.
Going into this film, I thought the ceiling was pretty low. Fortunately, this film exceeded almost all of my expectations. Ready or Not was a very entertaining and at times funny thriller. The film did a lot of things well.
The film was very well directed and had amazing set design. The score and cinematography were also very well done. One of my favorite parts of the film was the amount of actual depth they put into the core premise. They gave it layers and meaning, which is something I wasn't expecting.
The film was also surprisingly funny. I didn't know it was a dark comedy when I went into it, so a lot of the jokes and comedy caught me off guard. However, after the initial first act, I was fully engaged in it. Honestly though, I thought the more subtle comedy was funnier than the jokes. Things like one of the women not knowing the names of her nieces or nephews, and the fact that no one really understands exactly what's going on. Overall, this was just a very entertaining film.
The film did have some problems. It unfortunately was a little cliche at times and fell into some common tropes. There was also a twist towards the end that I hated, mainly because it made no sense. It just felt like a way for them to add unneeded shock value and extend the runtime. The film also just kinda hung around a little here and there. It's not bad, but you can tell they're stalling.
Other than that, I really didn't have a problem with the film. The tension was good, the pacing worked, and I enjoyed the comedy. With the exception of one, none of the other characters got a ton of development, but most of their characters were linked to the core premise of the film, which I liked. I also liked the main heroine enough to root for her, and she didn't make the dumbest decision she could possibly make. With the exception of that twist, I loved the climax. The film also had some Tarantinoesque Kill Bill vibes to it, which is always a plus.
Overall, I thought Ready or Not was a very entertaining funny little thriller. It definitely had problems, but man I really enjoyed it.
The acting was actually really good. I wasn't familiar with most the cast, plus this was an indie horror film, which don't have the best track record performance-wise.
Samara Weaving was the one I was the most familiar with. I really liked her in 2017's The Babysitter and she gave another solid performance here.
The rest of the cast do an equally good job, and I loved the awkward yet genuine chemistry between the family. Overall, the acting was solid.
The story and plot worked well enough. It was pretty standard and at time a little formulaic, but that's to be expected.
I loved that the film didn't waste any time to get going. We got a quick introduction before our heroine was thrown into this situation. For the next 40 or so minutes, the film was pretty predictable. The main character gets into a lot of close calls, but barely manages to escape time and time again. It was fine, but pretty standard. However, the Saturday really shined with its world building. The way the family history was placed into the plot was amazing.
I loved the third act, especially the climax. With that being said, I hated the twist. Luckily, this film had a lot more going for it then just that. It's one of those things where you know it's coming even though it shouldn't. The twist made little senses, yet it's pretty obvious. That was the only sour note in an otherwise great third act.
Another small problem I had was that the film probably should've never happened. The character is thrown into this situation because of marriage. So it makes you ask the question of why did he choose to marry her knowing the consequences. The film talked about it briefly, but pretty much brushed it off with a joke. It was just something that kept bugging me as I watched it.
This was just a very interesting story. It was one I was very intrigued by. The plot itself wasn't great, but all the other stuff they added to it really put it on another level.
Overall, I thought Ready or Not was a very enjoyable film. The film had some problems, but I enjoyed it despite all its shortcomings. The film had one goal and that was to entertain, which it was amazing at.
Excellent directing and cinematography helped give this film a unique visual style. Not to mention the phenomenal set design. Plotwise, the film was pretty standard, but they managed to add a unique enough story to set it above a lot of other films in this genre.
Excellent tension, great comedy, and just the pure amount of entertainment made me really love this film. Although it isn't the best film in this genre, this one's got cult classic status written all over it. Overall, I thought Ready or Not was a solid film.
© 2019 Royce Proctor