The summer movie season is officially over, and boy has it been a mixed bag. With every Toy Story 4 or Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, we'd get forgettable junk like Dark Phoenix or Shaft. With that being said, I'm happy to say that it's ending in a brilliant, bloody, and hilarious fashion with Ready or Not; also known as one of the many reasons I hope Disney wanted 20th Century Fox so badly.
Directed masterfully by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett (Devil's Due, Southbound), Ready or Not is hilarious, violent, fast-paced, and a hell of a good time! This is surprising because I wasn't a big fan of Southbound and really didn't like Devil's Due, but here they've seemed to hone their craft. Ready or Not's mix of horror, action, and comedy is a masterful balancing act that never teeters too far towards one aspect. The transition and tonal shifts are expertly done and surprisingly the movie is really tense at times in ways that will surely make you squirm during some of its more gruesome moments. You thought that nail scene in A Quiet Place was brutal? Ready or Not tops that and then some. I can safely say that I'm a new fan of these directors and can't wait to see what they have planned next.
Ready or Not is basically Clue mixed with The Most Dangerous Game, and that's a combination that is absolutely delicious to me. What I really like about the plot is that it treats the threat as a real one for our main character Grace (Samara Weaving) and that makes her plight feel more engaging to me as an audience member. While the threat itself is treated as a joke whenever they're onscreen hunting Grace, it ends up creating this brilliant and fun juxtaposition between the two scenes. It's a simple story, but I love the turns it takes and how it's presented. Also, the ending is an instant classic.
ACTING | CHARACTERS | DIALOGUE:
Samara Weaving is perfect in this film. She brings an intensity to her performance that I don't think I've seen in a horror performance since Toni Colette in Hereditary. She's a great performer and ends up being a huge reason why I loved the film. The supporting cast is phenomenal as well with Andie MacDowell as the mother of Grace's husband, Henry Czerny as the hot-headed (and hilarious) father, and Adam Brody as the alcoholic but down to earth brother being the standouts. Only faults I have with the acting is some of the side characters were used as one-note jokes and that's all they were. Funny one-note jokes, sure, but there wasn't much to them as people. Still, that's a small criticism considering how great most of the acting and characters are.
VISUAL EFFECTS | MAKEUP | DESIGN:
MUSIC | SCORE | SOUND DESIGN:
I wasn't expecting to love this soundtrack as much as I do. It fit very well with the many tones of the film. The Hide and Seek song is an instant classic in my book, but there are some truly great orchestrated pieces in the score that really add to the intensity, comedy, and overall experience of the film as well. Brian Tyler (Avengers Age of Ultron, Furious 7) put the work in for this small, almost indie film, and I couldn't be happier that he did. Some of his work can sound similar to others, but this one feels distinct.
Considering the measly $6 million dollar budget and the genre that the film portrays, I'm honestly surprised by how far this budget actually stretched. There's a fair share of practical blood and gore effects that will make you both laugh and wince (there's a nail scene that seriously rivals A Quiet Place). I would usually be annoyed at the use of CGI blood, but it actually worked well here mainly because of the over the top nature of how it is implemented. The mansion setting is also terrific here, with beautiful set design and long and ominous hallways that really add to the tension. Overall, great stuff!
Ready or Not will be, one day, a cult classic. Mark my words! It's up there with Trick r Treat and Upgrade as one of the best low budget genre films ever! I tip my hat to the entire cast and crew of this film. You made this summer just a little bit less of a mixed bag. Now stop watching The Lion King and go see this movie! Give it your money!!!