Cast: Samara Weaving, Adam Brody. Mark O’Brien, Henry Czerny
Directors: Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, Tyler Gillett
August certainly seems like a strange time to release an independent horror movie, but when it’s as creative and captivating as Ready or Not, I won’t complain. It seems like this is a fairly simple concept that we’ve seen before, but Ready or Not takes the suspense and cranks it up to a level that horror films rarely go to. A brilliant combination of dark, twisted humor and gruesome, nauseating horror, Ready or Not shows us that there are still incredibly talented and creative people in the horror industry and that they can still make the money needed to promote projects like this in the future.
The movie follows Grace (Weaving), on her wedding day as she marries Alex Le Domas (O’Brien) and becomes a member of his ultra-wealthy family that built its wealth making games. In order to officially become a member of the family, Grace must play a game of hide-and-seek with the other members of the family. What she doesn’t know is that for the family to keep their wealth, they believe they need to hunt down and sacrifice Grace so they can keep living. It is up to Grace to overcome the obstacles placed in front of her if she is to survive the night. What makes Ready or Not so special is its ability to embrace this absurd environment and turn it into something sinister and interesting. The fact that this movie can easily go from one scene depicting a character getting brutally murdered but then shortly after we hear dialogue that humorously comes at the expense of that fallen character shows an ability to shift the tone of the film in a way that very few horror movies can. Ready or Not instantly establishes its tone and carries this feeling of fear and wit for 95 minutes. Moving on to the plot, the story rides the line between absurdity and somewhat-grounded, which allows it to exist in a world where the ridiculousness of their situation makes sense. I’m there’s a world of illegal activity out there exclusively for the extremely wealthy and it wouldn’t surprise if they had to play games like this to keep their wealth. That being said, Weaving handles the pressure of the lead role very well and captures the true essence that someone in her position would feel. Not only is she placed in an absolutely horrible position by being hunted by her in-laws on her wedding night, but she has some pretty gnarly physical moments happen to her during this chase, which is necessary for this movie to succeed. One of them in the second act is pretty hard to watch and cements itself as one of the tougher scenes of the year. I personally enjoy when a horror movie takes a risk and try something different, and Ready or Not shows that directors can be creative and still turn a profit for their studios which will help similar movies be made in the future.
Overall, Ready or Not is not your typical August horror release, but it made the most of its moment and established itself as one of the best horror movies of the year. Of all of the previously established horror franchises, Ready or Not is another one I could very realistically see have a sequel in the future. For a general comparison, Ready or Not is similar to Escape Room but with smarter writing, deeper characters, and stakes raised to a level appropriate to the environment created in the movie. While it still has some of the typical horror issues like shoddy camerawork, that isn’t enough to derail an otherwise interesting and original movie.
Overall Score: 8/10