Gonna find you and take it slowly…
*Tia and I about to watch “Ready or Not” for the first time right now. Paused it before game starts*
Me: *Sits down & takes a breath nervously and looks at her* Ready?
Tia: …Or not?
Both of us after she said that:
FUCK YOUR FAMILY 🚬🔥
Grace from Ready or Not
SO GOOD. it’s like a horror comedy??? and I LOVED IT. will be watching this a few more times bc it’s THAT GOOD. the main protagonist = so smart and aware of her surroundings. which you almost never see in horror movies lmao. I was super stressed but do movies not stress me out lol. ANYWAYS GO SEE IT. SO GOOD. 10/10.
“Ready or Not” movie here I come!!
Bobbing in the dark.
I had high hopes for 2019 after the past couple of years for films, but I have found myself lately with less motivation to go and see new releases. I’m not sure if it’s due to the quality of work released, a seemingly slow surge of arthouse films into the mainstream that have yet to get blockbuster-length runs, or personal burnout, but I’ve fallen far below my expected viewing goals. That being said, certain premises will always pique my interest, and anything that falls into the realm of The Most Dangerous Game qualifies. This is the chief reason why I jumped at an opportunity to see Ready or Not.
Grace (Samara Weaving) and Alex (Mark O’Brien) are preparing for their wedding at the La Domas estate, the home of Alex’s strange family he finds himself estranged from. Grace is excited, but Alex seems distant and hesitant… even Daniel (Adam Brody), Alex’s brother, jokes that Grace could leave, no questions asked. Despite these ‘warnings’, Grace and Alex are married, but their wedding night is interrupted when Aunt Helene (Nicky Guadagni) beckons Grace to the music room for a family ceremony. Grace joins Alex, Daniel, Helene, Tony (Henry Czerny) and Becky (Andie McDowell), the heads of the La Domas family, as well as daughters Emilie (Melanie Scrofano) and Charity (Elyse Levesque) and in-law Fitch (Kristian Bruun), where the group heads to the La Domas family game room. Tony tells the tell of family patriarch Victor La Domas, a gamesman who met a peer in the form of a Mr. La Bail who presented Victor with a mysterious box that takes a card and places a game on it. Grace is presented with the box and told she must take part in the game chosen in order to official become a member of the family, and she chooses hide and seek, much to the dismay of many family members. Their hesitance becomes clear when Grace realizes the family’s true intention : capturing her by any means necessary for a much bigger purpose.
As a genre piece, the well-known presentation of the suspense gem that is the remake of The Most Dangerous Game is ground that has been well tread, but Ready or Not provides enough of an original twist with the secret society, cult aspect to feel fresh. The center of the family reasoning for completing their mission is not new or original by any means, but the presentation as a colloquial folk-tale and the commitment to seeing it through brought me thorough pleasure and entertainment. The suspense is palatable, the danger is believable, and the stakes are continuously risen right through the resolution of the film.
Presenting the idea of committing to a loved one and their family in the guise of a life or death game serves as a proper metaphor for the fear that many face when considering and going through marriage. This reading is the obvious one, and it is definitely nailed, but the subtext about unconditional commitment to family in the face of logic and reason is also touched upon without getting too heavy-handed. These dual seeds of conflict present a rich playground for tension : sibling protection in the face of danger from within, prodigal sons versus black sheeps, the willingness to love strangers with no guarantee it will be reciprocated, family dedication to traditions that are passed down generationally as the times change, and periphery damage of family conflict all get memorable moments in the course of the narrative.
Tonally, the movie handles its suspense and comedy quite well, never fully committing to either tone fully, but making the presentation of each tone believable and rewarding throughout. The special effects for the violence are believable, teetering on the edge of being too gruesome without going over the line. The mansion serves not only as a beauty of a location, but a deeply rewarding one in terms of providing plenty of opportunity for the game of hide and seek to be honestly captivating. The drab, muted color palette gradually takes a backseat to deep reds and oranges, matching the danger, urgency and ambition of the situation and the characters within. This film could have easily fallen into the realms of ridiculousness, shock and exploitation, but the balance of casting, nuanced writing (in terms of the interpersonal relationships) and performance keep it centered, giving us reasons to actually care about Grace and members of the La Domas family.
Samara Weaving holds down the lead role with the confidence of a seasoned veteran, channeling a Sigourney Weaver-like persona in the face of danger to pull off a believable heroine. Mark O’Brien, by comparison, broadcasts enough hesitance and weak will to offset Weaving, making his eventual character breakdown play that much better in the face of his trials and tribulations. Adam Brody is the modest heart of the film, visually presenting us with a torn protector that knows you can only play games with this level of danger for so long before you must pay the price. Henry Czerny and Andie McDowell make a perfectly absurdist couple for these proceedings, with each taking the standard husband and wife tropes to a dark degree, considering the topic and presentation. Nicky Guadagani brings a hilariously focused, Terminator-like energy to the beginning of the film, allowing layers of her character to peel and appear like a complex, dangerous onion. Melanie Scrofano handles a ton of the comedy weight, with Kristian Bruun bringing in a ton of comedic support, while Elyse Levesque serves as a younger parallel counterpart to Guadagani’s character.
I don’t think this film will win any awards or change cinema dramatically, but for those looking for a couple of hours of escapist entertainment, this will certainly check that box and then some. Funny enough, I misidentified the star, but I think that I am a newly formed Samara Weaving fan, and will probably seek out more of her films.
Ready or Not approaches its premise with a lot of smarts. It’s darkly funny with a few scares but mostly, it makes you laugh at the ghoulish scenario presented. Fully aware of the horror genre’s tropes and conscious of when to indulge or subvert them, it’s a lot of fun.
Grace (Samara Weaving) and Alex (Mark O’Brien) are now married. He’s warned her his family is full of terrible people but they seem to be behaving themselves alright. That’s until they invite her to participate in the family’s tradition-mandated game. When she pulls the hide-and-seek card out of a mysterious box, she must play, unaware being found means she’ll be murdered by her new in-laws.
From the first scene, a shady aura emanates from the Le Domas family. One look at Aunt Helene (Nicky Guadagni) and you know think “who goes to a wedding looking like a decade-old vampire?” Maybe they’re just the kind of rich “look down upon you” snoots we expect but no; they’re much worse. Greedy and selfish, some are also drug-addicted, idiotic or incompetent. This characteristic is important because it’s what makes the film go the way it does. Think about it. The card drawn is pulled at random. The people chasing Grace with weapons are regular members of the multi-millionaire family, totally unprepared to kill someone The Most Dangerous Game-style. They’re used to having their servants do everything for them. Grace may not be some kind of ex-marine but as a normal person, she’s used to having to do things by herself. These basic survival skills are just enough to even out the odds between her and the pampered would-be killers after her.
Heads roll and blood gushes in a comedic fashion throughout. There are just enough scares among the scenes where someone fumbles with their crossbow to remind you that this is a horror movie. There are instances where you’ll jump but not as many as there are laughs. The moments where Grace does get mutilated or endure extreme pain really get to you so the balance is good.
Another great asset at directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett’s disposal is Samara Weaving, who hasn’t been in many big roles but is destined to be a big name. I can foresee her branching out into action or comedy and she makes a great “final girl”. What they do with her character’s husband is also terrific. Writers Guy Busick and R. Christopher Murphy could’ve gone in multiple directions with Alex; some easy, others obvious or generic but the choices made with him are the correct ones, they really make the ending as successful as it is. Ready or Not ties everything up in a nice little bow. It leaves you saying “yuck!” and chuckling. (Theatrical version on the big screen, August 24, 2019)