Greg Dundee’s review published on Letterboxd:
Ready Or Not is a movie that, for me anyway, came out of nowhere. Up until just a few weeks ago I had never heard of it, and I didn’t see any trailers for it at the cinema. I read a brief description of it this week and thought it sounded like a bit of fun, so decided to check it out at the cinema today.
The film centres on a young couple on their wedding day. The bride, Grace, is marrying into a wealthy family of game manufacturers, and soon learns that doing so involves taking part in a bizarre tradition. At midnight on her wedding day Grace is required to take part in a game, but all is not as it seems and soon she is thrust into a deadly game of hide and seek.
It’s a ridiculous premise, and thankfully the film knows it. This is a movie which is incredibly self aware, and doesn’t take itself too seriously at all. It’s also surprisingly well made and not the trashy horror movie I thought I was going to see. For a start it’s incredibly well directed; the first act features a number of beautiful, stylish shots, and even as these give way to more intense scenes later on the film retains its sleekness and creativity. The classical score matches the stately setting and stuffy characters, but also adds to the wit and dark humour that is woven throughout the film.
Ready Or Not may be funny, but it’s still a decent horror movie and has some excruciatingly tense moments. Again, the director demonstrates great skill in delivering these sequences, and thankfully doesn’t rely on jump scares as a tactic at all.
The cast are also excellent, with stand out performances coming from Samara Weaving as Grace, as well as Adam Brody and Andie MacDowell. The characters in general are mostly well written and acted, although some of the antagonists are a little over the top and at times a bit too much. What is well communicated by all of them, however, is the sense that they will do anything for the greater good and to protect their family. Even kill an innocent person.
Throughout this film I found myself being reminded of Get Out. Tonally it’s very similar, and as far as the premise goes it’s not a million miles away either. It’s similarly dark and witty, and focuses on a protagonist who is an outsider coming to a new family, who is forced to deal with the horrifying secrets that the family is hiding. Get Out received a lot of praise for its social commentary and whilst Ready Or Not doesn’t explore all of the same themes, it does say a lot about privilege and wealth; and invites the audience to think about the absurdity of tradition. Not that the movie is bogged down by any of this, instead it offers a subtle takedown of certain ideas whilst delivering scene after scene of pure entertainment.
If you like dark, witty thriller/horror movies with plenty of gore and violence then you’re sure to love this film. The script is sharp, dark and witty, and the direction is bold and striking. Like some of the best horror movies of the past it features a strong female lead, as well as a host of well fleshed out and thoroughly enjoyable antagonists. It’s fun, intelligent, brutal and easily one of the most compelling movies of the year so far. The premise might sound a bit silly on paper, and maybe it is, but it’s one of the best made silly films I’ve seen in a very long time.