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Directed by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin (Southbound, Scream 5) and Tyler Gillett (Southbound, Scream 5), and written by Guy Busick (Stan Against Evil, Castle Rock) and R. Christopher Murphy (Stan Against Evil, Castle Rock), Ready or Not (2020) is a comedy horror film that follows young bride Grace (Samara Weaving) as she joins her husband Alex’s (Mark O’Brien) rich and eccentric family (Adam Brody, Henry Czerny, Andie MacDowell) in a time-honored wedding ritual that takes a sinister turn. Tradition dictates that as the new member of the family, Grace is required to draw a card from a special box that will determine what game they will play. Although the “Hide & Seek” card she draws may seem innocent at first, there is a catch - Grace must hide from midnight until dawn while her new in-laws hunt her down with guns, crossbows, and other weapons in order to perform a sacred ritual. While Grace desperately tries to survive the night, she soon finds her own way to turn the tables on her not-so-lovable new family.
Although Blumhouse Productions was not involved with this film, the directors Bettinelli-Olpin and Gillett take a page out of the successful horror studio’s low-budget, no-frills approach. Ready or Not (2020) is a combination dark comedy meets horror thriller, possibly something that we might have gotten had Monty Python made a gothic-tinged horror film. By combining tones from other films such as The Purge (2013), Clue (1985), and more, Ready or Not manages to mix these influences into a refreshingly clever story. The story is unapologetically simple and progresses as expected, but the narrative offers its share of surprises that defy predictability by exploring every avenue for plot twists that leaves audiences breathless by the end. The story uses ridiculously shocking gore and equally, pitch-dark comedy helps accentuate its tightly-paced plot. The humor is sometimes inappropriate and oftentimes tongue-in-cheek humor like using Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture” to a good and memorable effect, and yet it is both funny and believable without being slapstick. At the same time, it ensures that it includes enough gore to appease those who want it.
In terms of the cast, Ready or Not does not feature any big-name actors, in fact, the most familiar of them all would be Andie MacDowell (Groundhog Day, Four Weddings And A Funeral) as Alex’s mom Becky and Henry Czerny (Quantico, Sharp Objects) as Alex’s dad Tony, while Samara Weaving (Babysitters, The Three Billboards Outside...) Grace bears an uncanny resemblance to Margot Robbie. Out of the cast, only Czerny and Weaving are able to fully seize every second out of their screen time with Weaving being the most noteworthy. Her guttural power as the lead shows her going from the blushing bride to the final girl, while also taking the time to go through the emotional journey that it takes to get there. Mark O’Brien (Marriage Story, City Hall) is great as Grace’s husband Alex. His subtle and strong supporting performance to Weaving’s powerful lead is incredible. Adam Brody (Shazam! Promising Young Women) as Daniel, Alex’s brother, and a ne'er-do-well who always has a drink in his hand-deliver a deeply wrought performance of a character who struggles to find his place in a messed up family. He is both intolerably ineffectual and bemusing as he sympathizes enough with Grace and Alex to not truly hunt her but would rather pour another glass as the rest of the family spiral into madness.Overall, Ready or Not (2019) demonstrates a pitch-perfect tonal balance of dark comedy and horror-thriller. Since the film draws inspiration from a number of horror films, when the film comes to end the audience will be left breathless. The cast may not have featured big-name actors but the performances were exceptional and believable with Samara Weaving delivering one of the best performances out all of them. If Blumhouse Productions had a sibling that produced a film in the same genre then this would be the result, I highly suggest that you check out this film as you will most definitely be thoroughly entertained to the end.
Final Vote --- 7.5 of 10 stars
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