Ready or Not ★★

1. Screenwriting tip: if your film thrives off the lethal energy of fancy-house manhunt, don't have the pursuers make repeated references to keeping their pray alive in order to deliver her to "a ritual." Defangs all the tension and turns what's ostensibly the most *live* section of your film into a waiting game. Just let us slowly figure out that the guns are filled with tranq darts or whatever. Also I didn't add a spoiler tag because (Teejayx6 voice) you're bad filmmakers and I live to fuck you on the dark web.

2. This is the tackiest of deeply tacky enterprises— a not particularly funny or scary horror comedy tragically self-convinced of an intricate class satire that you can actually watch self-immolate during the final minutes of runtime, as the film ducks away from a potentially provocative ending in favor of a not particularly funny or scary and pretty shitty CGI gore effect. Not undiverting, certainly, but I'm going to wager at least 200,000 fifteen year olds across our green nation have lazily checked ticktock when the film slows down to make its various Adam Brody centered emotional appeals.

3. Found myself especially annoyed by the film's attempts to convince me that it had more quirky, SXSWkeepAustinweird energy than it actually does. It takes more than retro needle drops and character actor deep cuts to signify your elevated horror nerd taste, and more than bronze color correction to disguise your handheld coverage as good direction. Also doesn't the absurdist streak of maid deaths kinda fuck with the sloganeering here— killing off lower class folk in a "you-don't-have-care-IDK—XDrando" move so we can let off some blood lust while the film waits to serve up the actual rich people in its final moments? This is just lazy; the overly fussy premise is held entirely in place by its function as metaphor (which doesn't even scan, frankly. Why should drawing the hide and seek card be random? Is it just to make us not hate her husband right away??) and is migrane inducing when digested as pure narrative. I hope the filmmakers cried watching Knives Out— a film that's similarly kinda tacky but also a genius piece of screenwriting, and a billion times sharper on the lie of meritocracy and the horror of American gatekeeperism than this.

4. Kinda love the stretch in the Barn for its maximal excess of human suffering and additional ladder based invention, but that's mostly off the back of talented actress whose name I will learn to spell without googling when she's a star in two years.

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