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Ready or Not – Movie Review

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Ready or Not – Movie Review

Rating: B (Good)

Trailer/Thumbnail Courtesy Fox Searchlight Pictures

Taking a children’s game like “Hide and Seek” and basing a horror film around it sounds like a silly idea at first glance. The filmmakers behind Ready or Not are aware it’s silly and lean into it, creating a entertaining thriller that continually makes fun of itself and gets more absurd the longer it plays. Setting the movie in a single location and filling it with an eccentric cast of characters does enough to keep the interest piqued, as does a lead protagonist we hope will survive this whole crazy ordeal. Ready or Not is the kind of original and creative content people crave and it deserves an audience prepared to buy into its wildness.

Thanks to the film’s lean 95 minute runtime, it doesn’t take long for Ready or Not to set up the story and get Samara Weaving’s Grace hiding. Weaving captures the fear Grace is feeling when her in-laws start coming after her, but her expected attempts to stand up for herself are also believable. The actors portraying the high-class Le Domas family are completely in on the joke and revel at playing these millionaire jerks. The stand-out is Adam Brody as the mostly drunken Daniel, who responds to the game via hilarious deadpan reactions. There are also plenty of laughs, courtesy of one of the coked up family members.

The violence in Ready or Not opts more for the splashy Tarantino vein, rather than the shocking kind. This works with the movie’s tone, which is closer to an Itchy and Scratchy cartoon. There is one scene that will be hard for certain audiences to watch, but for the most part, the gore is presented for comedy’s sake. That everyone is using old-school weapons only adds to the humour, as these are clearly people who have no idea how to use them. Despite all of that, there are certainly stakes as we do root for Grace to show this family who’s boss.

A lot of credit for handling the film’s tone goes to directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett, along with screenwriters Guy Busick and Christopher Murphy. The directors take full advantage of the mansion they’re filming in and the early 20th century home adds to the Clue-like feel. There are multiple laugh-out-loud funny lines in Ready or Not with some of the best ones using swear words to perfect effect. Each character’s personality is properly laid out and the actors are clearly enjoying themselves playing these over-the-top roles. Most importantly, the movie doesn’t wear out your welcome and the various turns of the plot are effective in their execution.

It’s nice to see a movie like Ready or Not where you’re not sure where it’s going. Whenever it seems like you’ve figured it out, there’s another curveball thrown in. Best of all, it works as solid entertainment. The premise could have easily come across as bad taste and might have also landed the film in hot water, like what recently happened with Blumhouse’s The Hunt. Thankfully, it’s all laid out in a way that manages to mix the grotesque with the absurd rather well. This becomes a fun haunted house ride that knows exactly what movie it should aspire to be.

Stefan Ellison

Stefan Ellison