Ready or Not

Ready or Not ★★½

Not knowing much about this (actually, approximately nothing), I was surprised to learn that the film was not a period horror film. The poster oozes the atmosphere of a few generations ago. So with comments about instagram, modern security equipment, and characters googling how to use crossbows, my expectations were certainly rerouted.

Samara Weaving is a radiant lead and carries the film ably. Now that she's got the horror-lead on her resume, I hope she has a chance to branch out into other types of roles.

Ultimately, READY OR NOT is a joke. The central "hide and seek" premise is presented as something that the audience should buy into despite its being a hard sell. It truly is dumb and never explained to the point of being reasonable.

But given that the family plays a game of homicidal "hide and seek" on Weaving's wedding night (she's married into this quirky rich family), what ensues is meant to be a mash-up of tone (gruesome slasher, and quirky comedy)--like a "Four Funerals and Wedding".

The tone mostly works--the deaths are gruesome and some of the characters (working on the idea of Paris Hilton's SIMPLE LIFE series meeting Van Damme's HARD TARGET) provide effective comic relief. The aforementioned Googling of crossbows was particularly amusing.

But even though it is short, READY OR NOT uses up the goodwill it sets up in its premise. The action, and running, and slashing overtake the film and ultimately things play out in a cliched manner. The fun novelty of rare sightings of the gifted Henry Czerny and Andie McDowell (who started off as well-cast, interesting-but-quirky parents-in-law) eventually wear off too as both 1990s actors deteriorate into mostly whiny, sniveling villains.

I think READY OR NOT wants to summon the spirit of SEVERANCE or a Taika Waititi film, but it's just not mature enough (flismy characters, too predictable) to carry its own tone for any duration. It's not a total failure. It is well paced and mercifully short. But it's not quite the late summer gem I was hoping for.
B-

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