4 out of 5 stars (One of the best of the year)
Ready or Not is the horror-comedy I’ve wanted all year. A combination of The Most Dangerous Game and Get Out (but minus the latter’s political messaging), this is a fun, darkly humorous horror movie that balances solid gore and well-placed comedy without breaking its intensity. Add a great lead performance by Samara Weaving (of Netflix’s The Babysitter), and Ready Or Not is a fun, bloody way to cap off the summer season.
Grace (Weaving) is set to marry Alex Le Domas (Mark O’Brien), the son of an ultrarich family who aren’t thrilled with his choice of brides. After an awkward wedding reception, Alex informs Grace of a family tradition in which new members play a randomly-selected game from an old box that lasts from midnight-sunrise. She draws Hide and Seek, and is shocked when the family starts hunting her across their large estate with guns, crossbows, and other medieval weapons. Grace must evade her pursuers and figure out why they want her dead, uncovering a dark family secret along the way.
Ready Or Not strikes a surprisingly effective balance of tension, gore, and humor. While the first act is somewhat slow-paced and awkwardly written, the film kicks into high gear once the game begins and stays there until the bloody end. Weaving brings realism and humanity to the craziness around her, and the score is pleasantly creepy. Andie MacDowell, Henry Czerny, and Nicky Guadagni are great fun as the father, mother, and creepy aunt, and the film thankfully addresses its potential plot holes rather than simply ignore them. The kills are gory without overstaying their welcome, and the well-placed humor deflates tension while still taking the danger seriously.
Ready Or Not is a fantastic example of how to meld gory thrills and dark humor successfully. With a great cast, creepy score, and strong lead character, this is a standout movie that deserves to be seen. If you enjoy movies like Cabin in the Woods or Evil Dead 2, I implore you to see Ready or Not. In a landscape dominated by reboots, superheroes, and political soapboxing, Ready or Not reminds us that orginal movies can be good old-fashioned fun. See it.
Rated R for Violence, Bloody Images, Language Throughout, and Some Drug Use