You do not want to miss READY OR NOT in theaters. Go with a large group of people, or with a large group of your friends. Hell, seeing it by yourself it okay too. It is that entertainingly fun. I saw it by myself, but with a kid and a limited schedule, that’s just my usual movie going jam nowadays, and still had a helluva good time. It is a very tight yet mythological heavy 95 minutes that any thriller or horror fan will truly eat up. I literally couldn’t believe how good it was. I’ve seen marketing for it only in the past couple of months, very limited marketing, so going into it, I expected something fun yet forgettable. It is far from forgettable. I love it so much that I hope that it makes decent money to warrant some kind of sequel (oh shit, it is run by Fox Indpendent pictures, so now its Disney, and Disney is being a total bitch right now so I guess scratch that thought) and it can explore that little amount of mythology we received further. What’s really, really, funny is that Universal and Blumhouse cancelled their people getting hunted film called The Hunt, yet this is quite similar and yet there were no rumblings of cancelling it. Thank God, because Ready Or Not is one of the best films of the year for me.
The film has a hilarious take on the rich and in-laws that gets all the parody and jokes right more than a lot of plain comedies have tried to do in film’s past. Maybe because it’s also a horror/thriller was why it worked: it was the one last ingredient needed to get those jokes to land. The set up is this: Grace is getting married to Alex Le Domas. The Le Domas’ are a wealthy family that got rich off of producing different types of board and family games. On their wedding night, Alex tells Grace that as tradition for her to be accepted into the family, they all have to play a game with each other. In order to pick exactly which game they are supposed to play, Grace takes a card out of this mysterious box, and all it says is Hide & Seek. When she picks that card though, Alex suddenly looks distraught and doesn’t seem to want to play yet but doesn’t say a word. The family gives her 100 seconds to hide, and tell her in order to win, she has to stay hidden till dawn. Grace at first isn’t taking the game very seriously, but when she learns that once any member of the family finds her, they have to kill her, and then she’ll have to be dead serious in order to survive the night.
There is so much more to the story, but I am not going to say anymore, as following the plot, the characters, and the tiny pieces by tiny pieces of mythological information as the film moves along is part of the sadistic fun. Even though the film is a short 95 minutes, it is a completely nice and tight time length; in that there is no filler, and everything moves at a breakneck pace, but not so much to where you can’t follow along anymore. The beginning is quick but we establish all of the characters pretty well. Some of them, like Andi MacDowell’s and Henry Czerny’s characters, are a little bit one-dimensional, but they act the hell out of those roles and end up bringing a little something more to the table then you’d initially expect. Surpringly, it is Adam Brody as Daniel, Alex’s brother, that actually gets the most meat and scenes to chew, as you don’t really know where his allegiances truly lie. All of the characters are memorable, whether it is Emilie as the coke snorting member of the family that doesn’t know how to use a weapon properly, to Stevens, the family butler that simply doesn’t know when to quit.
However, non Margot Robbie, aka Samara Weaving, who plays Grace, is the real star of the show. She gets the killer dialogue, she gets the killer kills, every moment she is on screen, she shines. This is no surprise as she was the best thing about Netflix’s killer fun and campy thriller from 2017, The Babysitter. Although I hadn’t seen Showtime’s MILF, I heard she was great on that show as well, and she was also hilarious in her small but memorable role in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. Weaving’s character constantly has to go through bout of sadistic trauma throughout the film, and the realistic way she acts while hilariously spitting out those one liners that scream parody is just amazing to see on screen. SHE NEEDS TO BE IN MORE THINGS, I DON’T CARE THAT SHE LOOKS TOO MUCH LIKE MARGOT ROBBIE.
The movie’s violence is fun, gory, and top tier level excellent, being off screen where it needs to be and being on screen when it just can’t help itself. If I have one minor complaint about the movie, it would be there is just a tiny bit too much shaky cam, some scenes could’ve breathed better without it. Thankfully though, the entire movie isn’t like that, so it didn’t bother me all that much. The directors are two guys that I haven’t heard of, Tyler Gillett and Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, and this is their first big wide theatrical release. They have mostly done shorts and did a segment in the well known horror anthology series, but one I haven’t seen, called V/H/S. Their direction is great here, getting great performances from actors that mostly have one-dimensional roles. But that is okay here, as the movie just wants you to have fun and not be overly complicated.
And the ending, the ending is utterly fantastic. Probably one of the best horror/thriller endings I’ve seen all year. Is it weird to say that this is a feel good film? I thought it was. Every second that went by I found I was enjoying the movie more and more and that feeling didn’t let up until it the end credits rolled and I realized I wanted more. I loved the vastness of the large mansion Grace had to hide in, I loved when we got outside the house (for reasons I can’t spoil), I loved the overall journey. This is one of those movies that if it came on at 1 am and I was still watching television at the time I would watch it all the way through, 3:35 am be damned. It doesn’t matter what kind of movies you are into, I think you’ll really enjoy this film. Even if you are like my wife, who doesn’t like horror or anything gory, like I told her, I think you’ll still dig the film. The only expectation you need before going into the theater is to have a good time. Because ready or not, you will.