Release: 2019 Directors:Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, Tyler Gillett
Everyone dreams of their wedding day. For Grace (Samara Weaving), she was getting her dream wedding. A great guy who is insanely wealthy, a lovely dress, and an entire estate to hold the wedding at. The only downside, the husbands family. After the wedding, they announce that they have to play a game as a tradition. The game can be anything chosen randomly from a mysterious box, checkers, old maid, poker, who knows what will be picked? Tonight, the game is Hide and Seek. As Grace hides, the family gears up for a long night…
I was really excited to see this. I’ve seen the trailer just a few too many times (after seeing so many movies, you see it a lot) so it started to wear me down, but after some early hype going into it I got pumped and couldn’t wait to see what this could bring to the table. The premise is fun, the cast is great, all this needed to do is give us interesting characters and stick that all so important ending. And for the most part….Ready or Not delivers, but in ways that you wouldn’t expect.
The film actually gives us a great sense of tension early on. When Grace gets the “Hide and Seek” card you can feel how the entire mood changes. She isn’t told what really is at stake, just hide and if you make it you win. There is a diverse family plus three maids who will be joining the “hunt,” oh don’t worry that is just for fun, and hopefully you make it. The interactions between the family, since Grace is left alone, is electric. They are all in on what is happening…that being no one really knows why they are doing it. Just that they have to. So we have tension, mystery and a hunt, a triple threat and for such a simple premise could carry us to the end…
And this is where my praise for Ready or Not comes to an end. No holding back on this one, after the initial build up to the actual game in the movie it loses all steam. It becomes apparent that even with a fairly large family, no one can actually get harmed. Those three maids? Yep, those are your fodder. It never actually tries to do anything truly creative with the idea of having the hide in a large mansion from a psycho family. Instead it goes a different route, the husband saving the wife so she can escape and she becomes a badass.
That isn’t a bad way for a film to go by any means, plenty of classics have gone that route and succeeded. Ready or Not just isn’t that. Grace is a well rounded character with an easy to understand desire, to not die. Her once white wedding dress becomes torn and covered in blood and dirt by the end of the night, which is a genius way to show growth as a character through visuals. However, having a badass fighting off evil only works if you are ever actually…afraid of that evil.
The family is terrible. Performance wise, Fitch (Kristian Bruun) and Emilie (Melanie Scrofano) are easy standouts while the rest of the family does a serviceable job. However poor Nicky Guadagni as Helene gets the short end of the scripts, with some of the worst “comedy” this film has to offer. I’ll go ahead and tell you the worst moment; one of the maids walks in on the family and is shot by Fitch out of surprise. This happens multiple times, and by this point it lost its shock value. Helene takes the crossbow he had and is trying to tell the family what they must do, but the maid is still clinging to life. She is “interrupted” three times by gurgling coming from the maid so she shoots her to stop it. That’s it, and breaks the mood for the scene entirely. It could have been funny, but it just wasn’t.
Am I ripping too hard on this? Maybe, but I just want to end this by tell you how bad the ending is. I don’t want to explain why, since that ruins the entire point of watching this and some may actually enjoying seeing Ready or Not but the ending is just awful. And so is the ending to this review, since I just don’t think I can say any more without being too mean. It truly isn’t a bad film, this year alone has given us much worse than this, but it lands around the middle in terms of entertainment which is almost worse. See this if you want a mystery with a handful of great characters. But you might want to hide just a bit better than this movie did.