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‘Ready or Not’ Review: Dirs. Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett [Frightfest 2019]

Ready or Not review: A newly-wed bride finds that her in-laws are a lot worse than most in this new horror comedy that will change your view of hide and seek forever.

© 2019 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation All Rights Reserved

Grace (Samara Weaving) has just married the love of her life. He’s from a rich dynasty, and until recently has been estranged from the family. His family hid a bit of a secret, each time someone marries into the family they must prove their worth by playing a game. If they win, they get to join the family and enjoy the lifestyle of the stinking rich; if they loose, they die. After starting a game of hide and seek, Grace finds herself in a bitter battle of survival as her new in-laws try to track her down and kill her.

Weaving, a previous star of Home and Away, has been chipping away at the American genre market for the last few years. Roles in Mayhem and The Babysitter garnered attention for her, but it’s here in Ready or Not that she really gets the chance to shine. Her portrayal of Grace is sweet and silly with a rock solid strength. The audience warm to her within about ten seconds of meeting her, and you find yourself truly hoping that she makes it out alive. The clan of in-laws are varied and kooky, almost as if The Addams Family grew up with Dallas’ JR. There are plenty of familiar faces, though it is Adam Brody’s turn as brother-in-law Daniel that really grabs the attention. We’re never quite sure where he allegiances lie, and it’s fun to keep guessing. Brody’s been out of the mainstream eye for a little while since his days on The OC; after his turn here, let’s hope it’s not the last.

Ready or Not works well as a horror comedy. Laughs come thick and fast from the outset; a joke about the fate of the hired help repeats several times, getting funnier each time. The horror elements – mainly gore based – arrived around the half hour mark and offer plenty to entertain. There’s a lag in the humour and horror just after the mid point, but it’s back again by the time we reach the conclusion.

Ready or Not starts strong, but somewhere around the final third, the wheels start to come unstuck. The film seemingly gets muddled over which direction it wants to go and exactly how it wants to end. The result is a sequence of twenty of so minutes when you think you’re getting to the ending, but actually you’re not. We get stuck in a frustrating loop, and by the time the film has figured its way out of it, the audience is barely hanging in there. It’s a strong and amusing end, but one marred by too many deviations.

Ready or Not was reviewed at Arrow Video Frightfest 2019. 

Kat Hughes is a UK born film critic and interviewer who has a passion for horror films. An editor for THN, Kat is also a Rotten Tomatoes Approved Critic. She has bylines with Ghouls Magazine, Arrow Video, Film Stories, Certified Forgotten and FILMHOUNDS and has had essays published in home entertainment releases by Vinegar Syndrome and Second Sight. When not writing about horror, Kat hosts micro podcast Movies with Mummy along with her five-year-old daughter.


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