Cinemaster Score: 8.5/10
You’ll be hard-pressed to find another movie this year quite like Ready or Not. Its near perfect blend of humor, horror, and action make it one of the most unique sleeper hits of the last few years. Even though it doesn’t have a superstar studded cast, each actor manages to elicit genuine emotion from the audience in every scene they’re in. This is thanks to both the excellent script from Guy Busick and Ryan Murphy, as well as the stellar direction from Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett. They are written in ways that fully flesh out their motivations – and directed with great style and skill. Not only are the scenes they create strikingly original, but also clever in the most entertaining of ways. With each portion of the film being so well done across the board, Ready or Not is a thrill ride from start to finish. It’s a movie that you’ll be talking about long after it’s over, and for good reason.
Acting; When you take a look at the cast members in Ready or Not it’s noticeable that there aren’t any big name stars. Surprisingly though, the acting throughout this flick is quite impressive. There are enough characters that – other than our protagonist – each star gets enough time to shine. Adam Brody and Mark O’Brien act in a convincing manner as siblings. Henry Czerny and Andie MacDowell show off their skills – being both seriously intimidating and somehow comforting. Melanie Scrofano and Kristian Bruun are natural in their deliveries of hilarious lines. Then there’s Nicky Guadagni, who gives an intimidating outward appearance for every scene. Yet, the most impressive is Samara Weaving in the lead role. Weaving is able to express emotions with ease and embodies her character fully. From a group of such lesser known talents, it’s a breathtaking set of performances that aide this film in being so great.
Script; The writing for Ready or Not is excellently crafted in every way. While not many lines are memorable, each one is used properly. Much of the script is used for explaining what’s going on. However, it isn’t the direct, run of the mill type of exposition most movies use. Here, we learn information verbally, piece by piece, until it all begins to make sense. It also has very good pacing – as to keep from feeling shoved around in tones while many different emotions are displayed. Amongst the horror, Ready or Not makes sure to be fun – with humor that lands as often as it’s given the opportunity. Even down to the very last line, the script is clearly matched perfectly with the movie’s tone. It’s the kind of writing that should be appreciated because it makes the film so enjoyable.
Characters; Perhaps the best part of Ready or Not is the excellent chemistry between the characters. There are a multitude of characters that are introduced throughout the course of the film and (surprisingly) each one of them is given a shining moment. The main stars are Grace (Samara Weaving), Daniel Le Domas (Adam Brody), Alex Le Domas (Mark O’Brien), Tony Le Domas (Henry Czerny), Becky Le Domas (Andy MacDowell), and many others. There isn’t a single dull character in this movie, as all are fleshed out in surprisingly deep ways. Despite the short run time, Ready or Not capably managed a group of characters in a way that’s both fun and terrifying.
Direction; Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett co-directed Ready or Not coming off of their last major film, Devil’s Due, together. Here, they have crafted a smart, funny, and daring film that’s willing to be both original and risky. From beginning to end, they inject as much originality into this film as any we’ve seen in the past few years. Moments of dread are perfectly balanced with the dark comedic tone of the film and work to an unexpectedly high degree. Bettinelli-Olpin and Gillett collaborate to create one of the most interesting movies of the year in Ready or Not, and they leave us full of giddy anticipation for their next project.
Story; Ready or Not has a story that – while seemingly simple – has quite a bit hidden up its sleeves. The premise is easy to explain. Basically (without spoiling anything); there’s a newly wed couple, the groom is in a wealthy family and to join this family the bride must play a game as a sort of initiation. The key component being the family’s need to sacrifice this bride’s life. The tension is slowly built up before the game ensues. The story is made up of elements of horror, comedy, and even romance. It’s really a short, but sweet, movie. The plot follows one clear path with a handful of twists and turns included. All of which finally reaches an intense climax with an ending that subverts expectations. Ready or Not may seem like it has an underwhelming story before viewing the movie, but it is a great watch with an unforgettable story.
Enjoyment; If Ready or Not is anything, it’s extremely entertaining. From the perfect cast to the unique plot and tone, Ready or Not is enjoyable from start to finish without a single dull moment. When the suspense builds, expect to be on the edge of your seat until the final frame. Ready or Not is the kind of breezy and light summer thriller that can entertain your friends or family – it’s also clever and suspenseful enough for anyone looking for a late night flick. There aren’t any scenes we would consider “slow” in the film, though there are still tender moments that provide much needed breath to the endlessly thrilling plot. It’s a film that’s easy to love and hard to find fault in, and it is undoubtedly a wild ride.
David: “Ready or Not didn’t seem like it would be any more than a decent concept backed by nothing. However, the movie is really a great flick all around. If you aren’t seeing it for the horror aspects or even the comedy, see it for Samara Weaving. Her performance as Grace is outstanding and makes Ready or Not so great.”
JP: “I didn’t expect much from Ready or Not when I first saw the trailer for it, but I’m sure glad I gave it a shot. It’s one of my favorite movies this year and a great time in theaters. From the great cast to the fun and energetic plot, there’s not a lot to find wrong with it. It’s short, to the point, and is my 2019 sleeper hit.”