Sunday, September 8, 2019

A Family Game: Ready Or Not (2019)

Ready or Not (2019)
Rating: ***
Starring: Samara Weaving, Adam Brody, Mark O'Brien

We all know that the rich can be terrifying once all that money goes into their head and that one powertrip is just then a few notes away from happening. Films like The Purge franchise and Rob Zombie's 31 (2016) show what horror can do with this concept and Ready Or Not appears to be a solid contender for this class warfare from hell. If only it was a smooth consistent ride through and through.

Story is simple enough to be frank; Grace (Samara Weaving) has just joined the wealthy Le Domas family after marrying their estranged son Alex, happy to be a part of the clan after as she grew up in foster care. Her husband Alex (Mark O'Brien), however, is uneasy being around his family and gets more troubled once they call them in to partake in a particular Le Domas tradition.
"Who wants to play a game? It's time for Hide and Seek!"
Having made their money from games ranging from selling cards and boardgames to owning professional sports team, it is tradition for the Le Domas family to have the new member play a game on the night of their wedding, selected from an antique card box. As Grace pulls the "Hide And Seek" card, it becomes clear why Alex hadn't been home for some time as whenever someone pulls "hide and seek", the seekers get armed and the one hiding gets to be killed.

On paper, Ready Or Not (2019) sounds like a "reverse slasher" in the making, wherein the lead is the one doing the hacking and slashing once push comes to shove through their efforts to survive a predicament, like your in-laws going The Most Dangerous Game on you inside their very gothic mansion and backwoods property. The actual film's approach, however, is more of a survivalist thriller with a salad-tossed variety of comedy, as well as some horror elements like the classic Faustian deals, Satanic rituals and a few slasher film-esque deaths to keep the plot going and add a bit more meat to it.
"Run, Run, Run! Time to run and hide!"
This is all done with a flow and tone that frankly felt all over the place, a direction and style that mostly works for movies with outrageous yet fun stories such as what Ready or Not (2019) cooked up, even more should the pros overshadow the cons one way or another. The resulting film here does manage to do a fair round of its jokes and thrills right, reveling on dialogue and physical "splatstick" while working out decent cat-and-mouse hijinks that utilizes the backwoods mansion setting to a tee with the added bonus of being "humbly" gory and bloody for true horror hounds. It is far from a grand ride, mind you, as we still get the occasional run of predictable horror cliches and stale jokes poking fun at cartoonishly dumb rich people, a matter that hinders the full effectiveness of this movie as an intense horror thriller but does wonders as a black comedy!

Ready or Not (2019), nevertheless, still intends on shaking the foundations a bit such as withholding the common run of turning its obvious Final Girl into a machete-wielding slayer of evil and would rather maintain her status as a sassy yet resourceful bride-in-peril who must recognize most of her foe's inexperience within the killing grounds themselves and manipulates it somehow in order to survive. In turn, the running gag of having our murderous family hilariously offing the wrong people way too many times picture them as being far from the usual loaded maniacs who off people for the simple reason that they can literally afford the time and day to commit it, and that the aforementioned Faustian deal have more to say regarding their motives for doing this deadly tradition. Motives that involves wealth second and the Le Domas clan's very own survival first.
"Stay inside the shadows, all you girls and boys! Don't you make noise!" 
There is a lot playing around Ready or Not (2019)'s simple yet uniquely executed play of Devil pacts, human sacrifices and loyalty to one's family, may it be the fear of fitting in a new family, or the morals one might sacrifice at the price of their own family's survival, but the bottom ballpark is a darkly fun survival horror thriller that treats the elites as bumbling yet still threatening monsters for reasons both fantastical and relatable. Personally, it's far from a masterpiece, but I would agree that it's a guilty pleasure of a watch.

1 male shot repeatedly with a crossbow, killed offscreen
1 female shot on the face
1 female shot on the mouth with a crossbow, hacked with a battle axe
1 female crushed by a dumb waiter
1 male killed in car crash
1 male shot on the neck
1 female brained to death with a wooden box
1 elderly female explodes
1 male explodes
1 female explodes
1 female and 2 boys explode offcamera
1 male explodes
1 male explodes
Total: 15



    1. Hey, Librarian! Nice of you to drop by! Hope you're liking your stay!