Ready or Not
Genre: Horror, Comedy
Director: Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, Tyler Gillett
Writer: Guy Busick, R. Christopher Murphy
Star actors: Samara Weaving, Adam Brody, Mark O'Brien, Henry Czerny
Ready or Not is one of those films that I really wanted to like. It had an amazing set-up of a family hunting down a newlywed bride in order to satiate the tastes of an old occult ritual. However, often it is bogged down by poor decisions (how shocking for a horror movie) from our protagonist which is a result from scripting issues.
The film starts off with a very unnecessary flashback / prologue sequence in which two brothers, Alex and Daniel, are running around the Le Domas family mansion. They spot a groom with two arrows stuck in him. Daniel stores Alex in a closet and shouts, “He’s in here!” as the groom meets with him. Rather than shocking the audience by letting these horrid sequences play out later with the bride Grace, we're immediately shown someone we don't know being hunted. I felt disconnected from the characters and events playing out on screen.
As such, the family is forced to play a game each and every single time someone marries into the family. If they draw the wrong card, which is Hide’n’Seek, the family must get up and murder the new family member. Grace unfortunately draws that card and becomes a hunted victim. Much of the story, then, revolves around her survival. And, for what the movie is, Samara Weaving as Grace De Lomas does a great job. At first in hysterics at the situation and what’s happening to her, she eventually builds up a toughness and rigidness and starts fighting back.
Now, the first issue with the script I had was how Grace found out she was being hunted. After being found by her husband Alex Le Domas (Mark O’Brien) he hides her behind the bed in his room. It’s here that Alex’s sister Emilie accidentally shoots one of the maids. Grace realizes what type of shit she’s in for at this moment. However, I believe it would have been better for Grace to discover organically, not by some mishap, that she was being hunted. It could have been that one of the family members caught her roaming the halls and tried to get her then and there. But, no, this is like a godsend for dear Grace.
Throughout the film there are multiple moments when Grace has the opportunity to murder a few of the members of the family herself but just doesn’t do it. She knows they’re coming after her, she knows she’s wanted; one of them even shoots her in the hand. But, when it comes time to murder someone she usually just knocks them out. When the butler, for example, comes after Grace in his car she’s able to knock him out. Rather than running him over, beating him to death, or something of that accord, Grace just drives onward only for the butler to come after her again. This happens three times in the film in total where she knocks someone out instead of killing them. I don’t know; for a horror movie, that seems very light and pitiful.
Another problem I had with the movie was the fact that Grace’s husband Alex had a horrible character arc. He wants to protect his wife as much as possible and attempts to do so. At one point, he’s caught and handcuffed to a frame (and this is where he stays for half the movie, but we can skip that complaint). When he’s able to free himself and meet back up with his wife who’s been through hell and back, he realizes she’s not staying with him after this – I mean, who would? He then has an immediate sour reaction to this and turns on his wife, alerting the rest of his family as to where she remains.
There are a myriad of other complaints that I can say about the movie but most of those will just be rinse, wash, repeat sort of statements; bland characters and more scripting issues. Jabs at humor are made here and there, but most of them fall flat. We’re supposed to feel bad for the Le Domas family at some points; a curse surrounds them in which they need a ritual sacrifice or else they all die by dawn. Emilie, for example, states that her kids don’t deserve to die. But she herself is a junkie hooked on pills and cocaine, and one of her kids shot Grace earlier in the film. This does not make me feel pity for them, but it makes me want to see them get what they deserve.
If there is any sole benefit I can say about this movie is that Samara Weaving as Grace was phenomal and humorous. There are times when she’s spouting off strings of insults at those around her, and when she did kick some ass I found myself rooting for her. This was the only decent character within the film and I did want to see her succeed. Her charismatic appearance in the film was one of the only reasons I sat through Ready or Not.
Nonetheless, her performance alone could not bring this movie back from a mediocre status. It does not have enough thrills or chills and the payback that I was hoping to see against the murderous family was quite boring. The final scene in the movie was even less than exciting except for another line delivered by Grace to her husband. It was lackluster and disappointing, and I don’t think I need to say more.
I've been writing for Brutal Resonance since November of 2012 and now serve as the editor-in-chief. I love the dark electronic underground and usually have too much to listen to at once but I love it. I am also an editor at Aggressive Deprivation, a digital/physical magazine since March of 2016. I support the scene as much as I can from my humble laptop.
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