Movie Review: Ready or Not

In preparation for Halloween and also getting married, I watched 2019’s Ready or Not and I really loved it! I honestly didn’t see much wrong with it and found it to be a really refreshing take on a horror film with interesting and well-developed characters, which I think is sometimes an issue for the genre. One criticism I’d heard some people make about it was that some of its attempts at humour were out of place and detracted from the scene, but I really disagree with that. As someone who hates quippy funny in inappropriate moments, I took absolutely no issue with any of the jokes or comedic beats.

            Ready or Not tells the story of Grace, a woman with a troubled history relating to her family life. It seems that she craves some sense of family and partnership and has seemingly found that in her partner of eighteen months, Alex De Lomas. We see them on their wedding day – Alex gives her an our before they’re set to say their vows that Grace refuses to take. They have a very aesthetically pleasing wedding (goals) and we come to get an idea of what Alex’s family is life (no one present is a friend or family member of Grace’s). There’s the De Lomas matriarch Tony, his wife Becky, son Daniel and daughter Emilie, along with their respective spouses, Charity and Fitch. Also present is Tony’s constantly scowling, never pleased sister Helene.

            After the celebrations are finished, Grace is eager to consummate the marriage but Alex gravely informs her that to be fully initiated into the family, she must join the rest of the Le Domas clan in playing a game, as Charity and Fitch did on their wedding nights. Unfortunately, Grace draws the ‘hide and seek’ card, which starts a deadly ritual that could kill Grace, or the rest of the Le Domas family. As her new in-laws hunt her though the halls of their family mansion with intent to maim and then sacrifice her to Satan, Grace must toughen up, and acquire skills of stealth and brutality in order to survive the night.

            Grace is a refreshingly realistic and likeable character. She’s a little goofy and cynical in a funny way, and likes to poke fun at Alex’s family wealth, something she seems unaccustomed to. She talks to herself and makes jokes and is witty in her partner’s presence but quietens and behaves different in front of her new family. Though she has to take on the persona of a warrior and survivor, she can’t do that right away as she simply doesn’t know how. It’s not a snap change that happens within her – first she has to experience horror like she never has. Still, by the end, she is not completely changed, but she is tougher for what she has experienced. She spends the night in what starts as a totally gorgeous wedding dress, and ends it drenched in blood and viscera. Her costuming throughout (even though she only wears one canon outfit) is creative and adapts to each scene and film arc perfectly.

            Sometimes in ensemble movies like this, there is too much focus on one main character, when we crave to see development and interaction between others. Ready or Not gives us a clear and comprehensive insight into every relationship every Le Domas has with each other, from Fitch and Charity to Daniel and Tony. Every relationship present is well established and presented to us, which makes every loss and every battle all the more emotionally effective.

            Samara Weaving does an amazing job bringing Grace alive. Ready or Not is a completely original film (this is increasingly rare in Hollywood) directed by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett that is such a fun but intense watch. I recommend it completely, as I will most likely be rewatching it and my first available opportunity.

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