Movie Review: Ready or Not
Board games are an absolute nightmare. We both know how miserable an experience they are. It amazes me that so many up and down the country, even across the world, think busting out Scrabble constitutes fun. Well, it’s not fun, and Ready or Not is the closest proof we’ll get to that sentiment in the world of film. Horrible, horrible nightmarish visions of what happens when your step-family asks if you want a quick game of hide and seek before the starters are served. Answer with a firm no, for should this happen to you it seems you’ll be whisked away on a deadly hunt as former cast members of Groundhog Day and Clear and Present Danger hunt you down with medieval weaponry.
Relying solely on commendable performer and Margot Robbie-impersonator Samara Weaving, Ready or Not has confidence in the charms of its cast. Weaving plays well with the setting, giving us a traditional adaption to distressing surroundings. Her immediate response of hiding is soon replaced by taking the fight back to the family, uncovering the dark secrets along the way. Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett team up, with both in the directing chair for a film that feels like its road map has been walked more than a handful of times. There doesn’t seem to be a need for two directors, and I’m not sure how inspired their vision can be for a nice-looking manner, but they bring enjoyable action set pieces and expectedly solid writing.
That’s all you can hope for with a genre-mashup as big as this, fun. Ready or Not is fun. Not tremendously engaging or fascinating, but amusing at times and not without its charms. It feels like a pulped up, violent encounter with Knives Out, a film that also pits one unlikely candidate against a closely-knit family hiding dark secrets. The two differ vaguely, with one using foul play and cunning mysteries, the other throwing axes, crossbows and rifles into the mix. I can tell you which would be the preferred choice for a movie night at my house. Knives Out, probably. Not Ready or Not, I don’t think I could watch this one again. For as serviceable as it is to the genre, it doesn’t offer much value when it comes to a rewatch.
Reflecting on this one, it should’ve been far more fun than it actually was. Certainly serviceable, and an amicable film that blends gory horrors with happenstance comedy. Fun is the best you can get out of Ready or Not, and regardless of if you are ready for it or not, it’ll be stirring up quite a quiet storm over the next few years. It has real potential to be a slow-burning, light bit of entertainment. It sets out to give us some guts and glory, and does so with somewhat graceful results. A shame about the story, though, it would’ve been the bow wrapped around the rather impressive gift had Bettinelli-Olpin and Gillett had mustered up some courage in their writing. Hopefully it’ll be a bright future though, they can do great things for the revival of the slasher genre.