Movie Review: Ready or Not

Simple Review: A most dangerous game

A wedding is both a romantic dream come true and an event rife with frayed nerves and epic levels of anxiety, hoping everything comes together perfectly for the new couple. Once the nuptials are over the honeymoon night allows the release of stress for the newlyweds giving them one final night of fun before the marriage slowly drains the life from them until the sweet release of death sets them free from each other. That may seem jaded but let’s face it the truth hurts sometimes. The new horror/comedy Ready or Not doesn’t waste years getting to the nightmare of marriage instead a young bride learns quickly that your in-laws have only one goal: ruin your life. Allow me to act as your horror movie marriage counselor and let us work together to try to save this dysfunctional relationship before someone gets hurt, or worse, before we have to talk to the most soulless being in the universe, a divorce lawyer! 

Before we get into this review I would like to explain my frustration with the marketing for Ready or Not. Whoever created the trailer for this movie did not do it any favors by giving away too much of the plot. I will never understand why studios allow a trailer to give away so much of a movie as it only serves to remove the fun of figuring out where a movie is taking you, the audience. I had a fun time watching Ready or Not, but there was a part of me that felt cheated because I knew everything that was going to happen not from my brilliant movie knowledge, but from having seen it in the trailer. Enough of my nitpicking, let’s toss the bouquet of this review over our shoulder and see who knocks everyone over to catch it!

Ready or Not is such a pleasant surprise in this summer of sequels and generally dull offerings at the local cinema. Directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett have delivered a nasty little mix of horror and comedy that moves at a nice pace keeping you interested throughout the hour and a half-ish runtime. Much of the movie takes place in the immense mansion owned by the groom’s family and the directors are wise to use the interior, with its creepy decor and secret passages, to build a tense atmosphere. The filmmakers set the tone early with an introduction into the dangerous games this family plays which lets us know that while there is dark humor throughout the film, the danger to our heroine is to be taken seriously. Once the brief introduction is over, the directors do an excellent job with introducing the characters in our gory little story, as well as revealing the devilish ulterior motives of the evil rich bastards. As I stated earlier, the movie moves at an almost perfect pace for a horror film, but it never sacrifices details or character development in order to get to the next violent outburst. And yes, there are plenty of gory jokes to entertain your inner sicko which you need to see a therapist about.

The cast, as a whole, is effective in the movie with the actors mixing the right balance of fright with dark humor, but I want to concentrate on the films main star, Samara Weaving. Samara plays Grace, the new bride forced to fight for her life, and she absolutely carries this film. To watch her go from bright, hopeful newlywed to a bloody, bruised warrior was a performance that kept you invested in the film. You can’t help but root for her as she goes from the frying pan to the fire as she fights for her life. In a fun bit of filmmaking as Grace’s wedding dress goes from white and pure to bloody and corrupted so too does Grace’s character ending with her walking out of the mansion looking like Bruce Campbell at the end of an Evil Dead film. I absolutely recommend watching this movie just to see her performance and I hope this film leads to bigger features because I would like to see what else she can do as an actress. On a side note about the cast, it was nice to see Andie MacDowell on screen again!

As much as I enjoyed Ready or Not, it does have, you guessed it, its share of flaws. The movie does fall into familiar horror movie cliches. As well as Grace is at avoiding capture, other characters are still able to somehow find her when there is no logical way they could have. Other characters have the power of teleportation as they appear in the right place at the right time. The twist of why the family does what it does is a bit silly and one characters complete 180-degree turn because of this reason is jarring and not handled well. My last critique may be more of a personal disappointment than a real criticism as the ending missed a great opportunity to be a bit more ambiguous. The ending does work and is a silly, gory symphony of plasma, but there is a moment when what we are told will happen doesn’t and I thought it would have been a funnier ending if the filmmakers pursued that thought and revealed the consequences these characters would have to face in the real world. Again, not so much a criticism as it is more of a missed opportunity.

We have finally reached the end of this rambling review and the joy it has brought you, the little people. I enjoyed Ready or Not and make a strong recommendation to see it for any of you horror/comedy fans that I relate to so well. Samara Weaving steals the show as the battle-hardened bride and I look forward to watching her career as well as the next offering of the directors as this is a well-made gore fest! I strongly recommend anyone thinking about getting married to watch this flick because it may just happen on YOUR wedding night!

I hope you had as much fun reading this silly review as I did writing it. If so spread the word to your friends and enemies to help this movie geek out!

As always, thanks for your time!

The Movie Psycho

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