Ready or Not

Ready or Not ★★★★

Hey friends, I'm back after a long road trip with my wife and dog to Louisville, Kentucky. We had a fantastic time doing all sorts of Kentucky things like visiting a bourbon distillery, taking a riverboat cruise, and of course watching horse races at the famed Churchill Downs, home of the Kentucky Derby! Our good friends moved there last year and this was our first time visiting since then, felt great to reconnect and to explore their new city together. Also, our pup got to spend time with their pup, which I think was nice for her too :) Anyway, I felt bad about being away so long, especially with so many reviews to catch up on, but it felt refreshing to be mostly away from social media for about a week. But enough about me - on with the movie!

I want to say right off that Ready or Not helped complete the 2019 Class Warfare Trilogy along with Knives Out and Parasite, a much needed corrective to the mostly class-averse mainstream movie landscape of modern times. Each film brought its own focus, tone, and strength to the long-overdue conversation, making for a pretty comprehensive cinematic look at where capitalism has gotten us when you hold them all in the same headspace. Parasite is the deep dive philosophical masterpiece, Knives Out is the witty-clever-puzzle-box delight, and well, Ready or Not feels like the down and dirty middle finger held up to the elites who soak up the vast majority of capital and by their very nature make life worse for the rest of us. It's fantastic, and I'm bumping my rating up half a star because on second watch, it felt more rewarding and its less-articulate anger felt more poignant.

In the name of efficiency and hopefully catching up with my movie viewing - and because I think my original post said it pretty well - I'm going to share those words below:

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2019 is turning out to be a great year for class warfare cinema. In one month I've seen the astounding Parasite, the clever and deeply fun Knives Out, and now this little comedy-horror-thriller. While this may be the most thematically shallow and narratively slight offering of the three, its main point, "wealthy elites are fucking awful," is crucially never undercut or shied away from. Ready or Not is silly, but it means what it says.

One thing I truly appreciated here was the brazen violence, something the trailer led me to believe would be tame. This may start off a bit posh, echoing the sort of ensemble prestige comedy vibe you'd get from a big mainstream Get Shorty or Oceans 11 style film, but it quickly descends into kinda brutal territory and rarely holds back from straight up horror levels of gore. Very welcome, since it makes up for some pretty forgettable dialogue and weak characterization for much of the cast. Even better, it's not afraid to rough up the pretty blonde heroine, Samara Weaver - who is not, in fact, Margot Robbie. She goes HARD here.

I mean, there is a great scene involving a giant nail and a mangled hand and all I'll say is that I literally cringed, cinched up on the sofa. There's a difference between merely showing something horrible, and portraying it in a way that makes you feel it, and for all its shortcomings, this movie mostly does the latter, despite a somewhat breezy tone. It's got *texture.*

So there's not a lot of nuance in a movie about an extra-terrible wealthy family hunting a young bride in a locked, labyrinthine mansion, but at the end of another exhausting year watching the 1% burn away the world at the expense of the rest of us - and having seen at least one outright masterpiece dissecting capitalism and class in a way that's rarely done on film (Parasite) - I'm totally okay with that. This doesn't need or even try to be all that thoughtful. It's an angry, bloody attack on the billionaires who have finally brought democracy to its knees over the last few years, and it's having some genuine fun.

Scaretober 2021

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