Starring: Samara Weaving, Adam Brody, Andie MacDowell
Director: Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, Tyler Gillett
Running Time: 95 mins
Ready Or Not is an American film about a newly-married woman who, on the night of her wedding, is invited to play a game with her new family: hide and seek. However, she soon discovers that this is no ordinary game, and she will be fighting desperately to survive until sunrise the next day.
For want of a better word, Ready Or Not is just purely insane fun. Not a horror-thriller of the highest order, but a movie filled with brilliantly entertaining thrills and spills, it’s a triumphant piece of the lighter side of the horror genre. Not too heavy or dark to scare you, but neither too silly to simply be a horror parody, Ready Or Not hits a real sweet spot of pure entertainment, and it kept me entirely captivated from beginning to end.
There really is a lot to like about this movie, and as far as comedy-horrors go, it’s up there with one of the most entertaining in quite a long time. Normally, watching a comedy-horror requires a little bit of cooperation on your part as the viewer – a recognition that the killing and violence is all in good jest, but still enough deliberate engagement to be excited by the story at hand.
Ready Or Not, however, doesn’t need your cooperation, because it simply throws you in at the deep end, and lets you bask in the glory of its fantastic comedy and horror whether you like it or not.
First off, it has real confidence in itself as a genuine horror movie, and that’s borne out by its often properly thrilling and tense story. As much as the movie wants you to sit back and enjoy, it doesn’t let you off quite so easily, impressing with a really good take on a story that’s reminiscent of the equally insane likes of Get Out, Battle Royale and indie thriller Revenge.
Comedy-horrors are all too often ready to throw away any real fire and passion for some genuinely exciting thrills and scares, and while I won’t say that Ready Or Not is ever a particularly frightening film, directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett do really well to stick to their guns and deliver a fiercely exciting horror movie at the same time.
And one of the clearest examples of that is how the film uses violence and gore. Ready Or Not is a hard R-rated movie, and there’s a good amount of blood and violence right the way through. However, rather than using gore in a comedic, ridiculous way to lighten the mood, as similar films like The Mansion have done, the violence and gore in Ready Or Not is quite a bit heavier, but that serves to make its story feel all the more intense, and the peril of our bride all the more frightening.
So, for horror fans, Ready Or Not won’t be a disappointment. It’s not the most intense or terrifying movie ever made, but it serves as a good addition to the genre, and its confidence in keeping to its horror roots is something that deserves huge praise.
With that said, the movie wouldn’t be half as entertaining as it is without a great sense of humour, and that’s exactly what it has. It’s not a parody like Shaun Of The Dead, but there are a lot of jokes that not only lighten the mood, but really made me laugh.
All the actors are on board with the film’s gleeful take on a game of hide and seek turned deadly, with a hugely entertaining lead turn from Samara Weaving that puts her as the best big screen bride since Uma Thurman in Kill Bill, and their energy and cooperation in weaving a slightly sinister, serious horror vibe with pure and genuinely hilarious comedy is vital throughout, further bringing the film together as the triumphant piece of entertainment that it is.
Overall, I had a blast with Ready Or Not. A comedy-horror that finds a rare sweet spot between comedy and horror, the film is a hugely entertaining watch from beginning to end, impressing with an engaging, exciting and often even genuinely tense story, as well as great laughs to lighten the mood throughout. It sticks to its guns and never lets the comedy cheapen the horror, but conversely never goes overboard with gratuitous violence and gore (with the exception of just one scene), so that’s why I’m giving it a 7.7.