Ready or Not

Ready or Not ★★

I had a mild negative reaction to the style of this flick and it's hard to try to put a finger on it. It has Looney Tunes DNA where I was wanting more traditional horror movie DNA. The characterization leans so light and cartoonish that you don't get much in the way of relatable human behavior. Leans on a lot of shorthand too, like how the floppy, dog-eared pair of Chucks the bride slips into is how we know she's our everyman. Maybe she chuckles a snorting laugh at some point too to show she's on our level?? Or how there's a fuming, weird, old aunt who we can always cut to scowling at the wedding for a sting of comedic relief. A master like Miike could find some moments to fit in some actual relatable humanity in this scenario without penny-ante-ing the gnarlier bits of violence like this one does too. Now that's a very high bar, but that's just to show what different ballparks we're talking about. This movie doesn't have a whiff of even attempting to pull off that kind of difficult balancing act. But yeah, it takes so long to get to a real visceral moment involving a big nail sticking up out of a board, that you wonder what the hell took so long.

What else? Yeah, not a lot of meat here for the actors. It's 99% "Okay you're gonna be super rich, so you know, you go around being kind of stuck-up and hoity-toity. Got a rich person voice? Perfect. You, you're new to the family, so you just want to please, but you're not good at any of this." Seems like you could roughly approximate this family dynamic with a handful of folks in about five minutes, right down to the cynical, drunk one who's so over these family antics. It's a godsend later on in the movie when Andie MacDowell gets to wring a little bit of emotion from the stone that's been given everybody, so credit to her there. That's just in such short supply. Samara Weaving doesn't have a lot of heavy-lifting acting to pull off either, except to be plucky and likable as our desperate hero for the most part, but she is absolutely game for all of the physical stuff involved here so credit to her too.

Didn't think the world-building was that great. The backstory/mythology is a little clunky and doesn't really get parceled out in a measured, meaningful manner. Never establishes the geography of the mansion with it's secret corridors, etc. to where you ever get a sense for it or where people are generally located at any given time. Or how the family's history with this house has any bearing whatsoever since it's all just keystone cops fumbling about with children and maid/ex-strippers free to wander around the premises for pratfall payoffs that keep lowering the stakes.

So there was a lot that was rubbing my snobby ass the wrong way, but none of this stuff is an egregious sin as much as it is stuff that just doesn't work for me. It's still light and fun and basically harmless. Back half got me a little more invested, before the ending left me pretty underwhelmed again. I give that credit for even working half as good as it does though.

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