Ready or Not
Jacob Richardson | 1/11/2019
A raucous, rambunctious, gory and gratuitous black comedy that will have you wincing and in stitches in equal measure.
The wealthy Le Domas family made their money on board games, and fittingly the family hosts a generations-long tradition of playing a game at midnight on the wedding night of each family wedding. When Grace (Samara Weaving) marries Alex Le Domas (Mark O’Brien), she has to choose a game to play at random. Unluckily for her, she chooses Hide and Seek - the one special game, which tradition dictates is taken for real. As such, the family begins a deadly hunt, having to kill Grace ritualistically before dawn or running the risk of having their entire family die.
Directed by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett, Ready or Not is a film of incredible balance. It combines dark comedy elements with straight horror, thriller keynotes with action beats. The film manages to strike a remarkably smooth transition and balance between these disparate elements, and in doing so provides a visual viewing treat.
The plot keeps things pacy and interesting, and the directors’ time key plot developments to keep the action feeling fresh and the tension high. The horror elements drop in and out in just enough of a quantity to make things interesting, but so does the comedy to keep things light and fun enough for pure enjoyment.
This is aided in the extreme by Weaving, who is absolutely incredible. Her snark and charm is evident, and her work with Grace makes her a believable heroine, who is fundamentally likeable. The supporting cast registers in very different levels; O’Brien is OK, Adam Brody is great and Elise Levesque is hilarious and a standout. If some of the others don’t register / aren’t as convincing, it doesn’t make as much of an impact because of the focus on Weaving and the quality of her performance.
Ready or Not also looks quite beautiful, with a contrast heavy colour grade anchored in a historic and grandiose mise-en-scene. It adds a sense of class to proceedings, but also a sense of fantasy that helps to temper some of the more violent aspects.
That being said, the film does drag in one or two places, and the constant onslaught of challenge after challenge can frustrate the audience at times. The ending also manages to surprise, but the special effects used seems almost a little bit amateurish because of the quality of the physical set design throughout the remainder of the film.
Ready or Not is a real joy; a perfectly balanced dark comedy that entertains and enthralls.