Ready or Not

Ready or Not ★★★★

Movies 2019 - 244. Ready or Not (2019; written by Guy Busick and Ryan Murphy; directed by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett)
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🌮🌮🌮🌮 (4 tacos)
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A bride is put through hell on her wedding night when she must take part in a ritualistic game hosted by her new family. Every so often, I feel like I need to explain that there are different approaches to different movies. Ready or Not makes no misstatement about what kind of movie it is. It knows it is a genre film and takes great delight in being one. While this film may not be mentioned as a contender come awards season, the way it has fun with itself and remains engaging and entertaining from start to finish makes it one of the most enjoyable surprises of the year.
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Samara Weaving has been proving herself in smaller films over the last couple of years, particularly among the indie horror variety. In Ready or Not, she shines so brightly that if given the proper attention by mainstream audiences, she is a star in waiting. Weaving plays Grace, a young bride being welcomed into the gaming magnate family of her new husband, Alex. Family tradition dictates that the family must play a game at midnight when welcoming a new member into the fold. When Grace draws Hide and Seek via a “magical” box, she must hide and the family must find her. Little does she know that the true objective of the game is for the family to find her before dawn and kill her. Once she realizes this, it becomes a mad quest to escape the house and survive the night.

As I said, Weaving is phenomenal. She is the perfect final girl in this film that thinks things through logically and instinctively. She is also graced with a very natural sense of humor which outlines everything that she does. She makes every moment fun to watch, even those moments that make might you wince out of pain. The majority of the remainder of the cast does a pretty wonderful job as well. My personal standouts are Adam Brody and Henry Czerny. Brody is just as much of a charming geek as usual. There is a definite moroseness attached to his character and he stirs that into the makeup of his personality with perfection. Czerny is someone I enjoyed watching as I was growing up in various political thrillers. He has this villainous air to him that I always considered to be very cool. Watching him lose that collectedness as things go wrong for him in this film is absolutely delightful. Czerny is another gem who I hope finds a career resurgence as he is very deserving of it.
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The look of this film is spectacular. Every shot in the House has a kind of gold tint to it, making it look like the film is shot using natural light. This also punctuates the class struggle at the center of the film. While the primary purpose of Ready or Not is to be a fun horror comedy, keeping things moving at an entertaining, brisk pace, there is still time for social commentary about the rich versus the poor. The haves will always feel a sense of superiority and they will do whatever it takes to keep it. The film definitely peppers that storyline in even if it doesn’t stay focused enough on it to make it last as a through-line all the way to the end.
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Other things worthy of praise in this film include the very thoughtful story and dialogue and the great gore effects. The writers here not only crafted a great story that keeps the audience on the edge of their seats, but it does so using dialogue that actually feels connected to the story. The jokes aren’t just cheap reaches for laughs. They come from the genuine context of the film. Every line feels natural. It’s a great piece of original storytelling. The gore effects are also pretty great, too. This isn’t a super violent film, but the violent moments are pretty shocking. The makeup and effects crew behind this film did a wonderful job of making everything feel very visceral and tangible. 
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Released by Fox Searchlight, Ready or Not is the perfect example of the kind of movies I would like to see hit theaters, but probably will see even less of as the years go by. It is an original, independent property constructed by mostly unknown writers and filmmakers. Now that Disney owns 20th Century Fox, the likelihood of them decimating Fox Searchlight is pretty high. That is a terrible shame as Searchlight was definitely a great studio for up and coming filmmakers to find their footing. Before Searchlight fades away, here’s hoping this film is able to find an audience in its final weeks at the theater or on home video. This is one of those horror films that absolutely deserves the widespread acclaim it is getting.

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