Every year I see a movie that seemingly comes out of the blue, and ends up being one of my favorites of the year. This film is never one of the major releases that I’m already planning to see from the moment it’s announced, it’s typically a much smaller film. Last year it was A SIMPLE FAVOR. In 2017 it was HAPPY DEATH DAY. Along the lines of both of those films comes READY OR NOT, which is the most fun I’ve had at the movies this year.
Directed by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett, READY OR NOT is the story of Grace (Samara Weaving), a woman who is getting married to Alex, a member of the wealthy Le Domas family. The craziness begins once Grace agrees to play a game on her wedding night which is a tradition of the Le Domas family to initiate new members into the family. Unfortunately for Grace, the luck of the draw gives her hide and seek. This results in the family taking up arms to hunt her down throughout the night.
READY OR NOT juggles multiple genres. There are elements of horror, thriller and comedy and it manages each of them perfectly. Normally this can be difficult for films, but this one manages to shift gears near flawlessly. One moment you are on the edge of your seat as Grace fights to survive and then you are bursting into laughter at the family’s failed efforts.
As the matter of performances go, Samara Weaving proves to be quite the lead with her comedic timing, physicality and a dash of vulnerability. Obviously with a character being in a situation like, you may expect one type of performance from the lead, but Weaving weaves (pun intended) from moment to moment just as the film’s tone changes. An honorable mention has to go to Adam Brody who gives a very conflicted performance as Daniel, who is at odds with his family’s garish history and his role in it. Also I must give a shoutout to Andie MacDowell, who it is always great to see.
It’s not just blood and laughs in this film. READY OR NOT has something to say as well. I felt it similar to Jordan Peele’s GET OUT, another recent horror release that also doubled as commentary. Here we have a comedic takedown of the concept of the wealthy and how it can be interpreted what they fee they must do to maintain that wealth and power. There is a reason the Le Domas family hunts Grace. The social subtext of the film becomes quite evident and enhances the experience.
READY OR NOT is a ride. With a length of 95 minutes, it covers a lot of ground early and covers it quickly while losing not an ounce of it triple decker of thrills, laughs and commentary.