Saturday, March 14, 2020

Ready or Not: Movie Review

Entertaining insanity with interesting themes and a fantastic lead character.
As regular readers will know, I typically don’t watch many horror movies. But Ready or Not intrigued me. While buoyed by the good reviews, I was really drawn to that poster and all the images of Samara Weaving in the wedding dress that are floating around. Take a look at that poster and the look on her face and all the themes it conjures up, particularly with the contrast of the white, innocent, wedding dress while possessing ammunition to murder a whole houseful of people.   2019

Directed by: Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, Tyler Gillett

Screenplay by: Guy Busick, R. Christopher Murphy

Starring: Samara Weaving, Adam Brody, and Mark O'Brien

There are so many interesting themes at play in this movie and they all pop up in the introductory scenes. Grace (Samara Weaving) is practicing her vows on her wedding day. She seems to be marrying Alex (Mark O’Brien) for love, but considering his family is rich beyond reason, there is the question maybe she’s getting into this for money. All of her future-in-laws are asking that exact question because they don’t believe there is such thing as good people.

Samara Weaving in the film READY OR NOT. Photo by Eric Zachanowich.
© Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation All Rights Reserved.

There’s a few things Alex forgot to tell her. Namely that his family has this ritual where they play a game on their wedding night, oh and this game is a matter of life or death. I love the idea that these insanely rich people are insane because they’re rich (and have all been rich their entire lives). The people who have married into the family all seem to adopt the insanity when they adopt the money.

At first when we vaguely question if Grace is marrying for love or money, the question later pops up – what about Alex? If this is love, what kind of responsibilities does he bear? Does he not know the extent of his family’s insanity and atrocities?

It’s easy to be on the side of Grace. Her genuineness shines through quickly and as ferocious and tough as she needs to become, Weaving also lends her a relatable touch of vulnerability. Her performance is remarkable and very engaging. Despite this movie being outside of my usual comfort zone, I was glued to Weaving’s journey and determination to get out alive.

The audience is likely to have shifting sympathies for the other characters. Questions have already been asked about Alex, but what about Daniel (Adam Brody), Alex’s older brother. He has a slightly caustic demeanor, but he also seems less insane than his family members. He has shielded his brother in the past; can we trust him to shield Grace? The shifting sympathies for Alex and Daniel help create the uneasiness and tension in the film’s unrelenting atmosphere.

The entire film takes place in the family’s old estate. The castle-like interior and vast exterior create so many interesting visuals to really pull in the audience into the game of hide and seek. While the set-up might not feel like pure horror, it definitely becomes horror complete with gore, violence, extreme violence, and a high body count.

Ready or Not adds a lot of interesting ideas to the typical horror plot with a completely insane ending and a really fantastic lead character to get us there. It’s well written and visually very engaging.