30 Movies in 30 Days: Ready or Not

Had I seen it before: Nope!

Year: 2019

Director: Matt Bettinelli-Olpin & Tyler Gillett

Writers: Guy BusickR. Christopher Murphy

Where you can stream it now: HBO

What IMDb says: A bride’s wedding night takes a sinister turn when her eccentric new in-laws force her to take part in a terrifying game.

Why I picked it: My dear friend Jess recommended it, and I trust her. Sometimes it’s fun to dive into a movie precisely because you never would’ve picked it for yourself.

What I liked: Grace is a strong, resourceful protagonist that’s easy to root for. She faces many perils as the story progresses, but at no point are we blaming her for her fate. That’s not always true with horror movies, so it was nice to see here. Samara Weaving delivers a great performance, creating a character that’s palpably scared for her life, yet still a total badass.

The story also does a great job of giving different members of the family varying degrees of niceness. Throughout the movie, we’re unsure who we can trust and who we can’t, which just makes things more interesting. Some people openly acknowledge that this weird tradition is insane. This gives us hope that maybe someone will have a change of heart and help Grace escape. But then maybe they won’t. Knowing that so many characters could instantly turn better or worse at any moment makes for great tension.

What I didn’t like: There were points where the movie seemed unsure if it was going for silly, campy horror or dark, gorey horror. Certain characters die in stupidly ridiculous ways, and some characters feel like they’re only here to make dumb jokes. There can certainly be a lot of value in well-placed comic relief in an otherwise dark movie, but unfortunately it’s not really as funny as it needs to be to serve that purpose. At the same time, the movie’s not committed enough to its sillier elements for it to be a fun aesthetic choice. It just leaves me wishing they would’ve leaned more to one direction or the other. Overall, that’s a relatively small gripe though. It’s not enough to make or break my opinion of the whole movie.

Will I watch it again: Probably not, but that’s more to do with my personal tastes than the actual quality of the movie.

Who would enjoy it: Horror fans. If this genre is your schtick and you previously overlooked Ready or Not, you should definitely give it a chance as it succeeds in being what it’s trying to be. However, it’s also not reinventing the wheel to the point that people outside that audience need to see it.

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