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Ready or Not (2019)

September 5th, 2019 by unkle lancifer · 4 Comments

Believe it or not, READY OR NOT is about as satisfying as thrillers get. It’s all kinds of suspenseful, hits you with tasty blasts of true horror and the pitch-black humor that weaves throughout is exactly the right effortless tone that never ventures into the too broad and annoying zone. The unremarkable trailer misled me to believe I was in for the standard, been-there, done-that affair but R.O.N. cleverly plays against genre expectations, guides you into areas you’d never assume existed and ultimately pulls off a completely unexpected (literally) explosive conclusion. It’s kind of an irresistible combination of old school parlor room mind game mixed up with survival horror and smothered in satanic cynicism. Plus it all takes place in a sprawling mansion complete with secret doors, dumbwaiters and shadowy alcoves so even on the most basic level, it offers a cozy joint to wander around in for a while. Maybe I’m partial as I’m a giant fan of the board game CLUE which I have to assume was an inspiration even though nobody gets clobbered with a candlestick.

SAMARA WEAVING (THE BABYSITTER) portrays Grace, a woman about to dive into marriage who finds herself intimidated and weary of her fiancé’s aggressively off-putting and obnoxiously wealthy family. Soon after vows are exchanged her milquetoast hubby informs her that the clan has but one request and that is for her to indulge them in the family’s ritual of playing a picked at random game together. It might be checkers, it might be chess, it could be Ker-plunk or Don’t Break the Ice but as luck would have it, Grace picks “Hide and Seek” which amounts to her running for her life as everyone involved tries to kill her. As you can probably guess, Grace is a far greater opponent than anyone in the family is prepared for and soon it’s not quite clear exactly who might survive the night. As someone who finds themselves filled with a crimson rage every time they see a photo of a rich douchebag posing with an innocent dead animal they hunted for sport (steam is coming out of my ears as I type this), I deeply and cathartically relish every damn painful comeuppance Grace inflicts throughout this fine film. It’s the feel-good movie of the summer.   

WEAVING owns this movie (although I gotta give props to ANDIE MACDOWELL as the menacing matriarch as well). Grace is such an appealing and relatable horror heroine. She bumbles and fumbles and makes bad judgment calls and succumbs to her own vices and is, in general, a beautifully flawed, exquisite mess. She doesn’t secretly know karate or build elaborate Rube Goldberg booby traps on the fly either. What makes Grace even more relevant is her well-earned ferocious anger. It’s glorious. At some point, she’s just plain exhausted and royally pissed and so rightfully incredulous as she asks the sky, “What the fuck is wrong with rich people?” There’s something so authentic about the fury that WEAVING emboldens Grace with, her every scream, curse and frazzled wail rings true and feels legit. As the character enjoys a congratulatory exhale from a cigarette at the end of the film (which strongly echoes Veronica (WINONA RYDER)’s casual smoke at the end of HEATHERS) it’s almost difficult to believe she is the same character we started out with. The emotional journey she endures (through optimism, doubt, passivity, paranoia, anger, rage, profound exasperation and finally shrugging blasé victory) is one harrowing yet richly rewarding (and sometimes hilarious) haul.

Tags: General Horror




4 responses so far ↓

  • 1 JennyD13No Gravatar // Sep 5, 2019 at 6:18 pm

    My hubby and I loved this movie! I haven’t heard him laugh as hard since the opening scene of Krampus. Plus, the actor who plays her husband, is from Newfoundland (my home province) which is kinda exciting 🙂

  • 2 unkle lanciferNo Gravatar // Sep 5, 2019 at 6:58 pm

    JennyD13,
    Yay, I’m so glad I’m not alone here. I think this movie will surely become a cult classic once people are able to watch it at home. The humor is spot on for me- so perfectly handled! Plus the horror really works along with the humor for once (that pit in the barn!) The ending was kind of a dream come true (what happens after dawn), I never thought they’d be brave enough to go there. Can’t wait to see it again!

  • 3 GeoffNo Gravatar // Sep 6, 2019 at 5:53 am

    I had a blast with this one too! Like you I loved the Clue-meets-You’re Next vibe and the ending caught me completely off guard. My one quibble would be I wanted a few more cathartic comeuppance moments for the truly venal family members. But I look forward to revisiting this when it comes to Bluray.

    Samara Weaving is so wonderful in this I finally sat down to watch The Babysitter which has been on my watchlist forever. It has a very similar dark humor and would make a good double feature with Ready or Not.

  • 4 unkle lanciferNo Gravatar // Sep 6, 2019 at 11:07 am

    Geoff,
    I think you’re exactly right- I wouldn’t say no to a little extra painful demise for especially the cold sister in-law or the crazy aunt. Although a part of me wanted the Aunt to have a change of heart and help Grace because she related to what she was going through…

    and I was so impressed with Weaving too. Can’t wait to see what she does next.

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