Ready or Not, more horror than comedy? (review)

Ready or Not does a better job with the horror aspect of its horror comedy billing, but it’s still a fun ride and gets the Bibs stamp of approval. 

The first time I saw the Ready or Not trailer I was all-in. It looked like it was going to be a ton of fun and, though I don’t like gore, I was willing to enjoy it in that context. Much like Tragedy Girls or Tucker and Dale vs Evil, gore undercut by comedy doesn’t hit quite as hard.

What I saw did not quite live up to what I was expecting though it wasn’t all bad. I can say that my expectations were probably unfairly high and I will take some of the blame for that but not all of it. This was yet another case of a poorly cut trailer and I wish more people would take notes from the IT marketing team (more on that in the IT: Chapter 2 review.)

Elevator review

Ready or Not serves as solid horror comedy that doesn’t necessarily have laugh out loud funny moments but has fun with its premise. Samara Weaving is great and you can definitely enjoy this as a movie night movie.

READY OR NOT

The Story

The trailer gives you the premise so I won’t spend a ton of time here. Samara Weaving (SMILF) plays Grace. A young bride marrying into a family that has generational wealth from the board game industry. The family is dysfunctional (as all families are) and each family member she meets has a different quirk. Her husband-to-be, Alex (Mark O’Brien) is very clearly nervous but he’s not sharing why. She’s enjoying the moment until things take a serious turn after the wedding.

The patriarch, Tony, played by Henry Czerny (Revenge) tells a story. He tells the story of how the family came into their wealth and the deal that was made so many years ago. The story sounds ominous but Grace still thinks this is all fun and… games. The family tradition is that any time someone new joins the family they have to play a game. A game chosen for them by an enchanted box that prints out a playing card with the name of the game on it.

Some games are just that, games, but if you draw the Hide and Seek card then the family has until dawn to kill you by ritual sacrifice. She hides, thinking that this is weird but hey I married into a weird family. Things get serious very quickly after that however.

Humor

As I mentioned, the movie wasn’t as funny to me as I expected it to be. The funniest moments were either in the trailer or ruined for me because of how much I knew going in. There are several times when I got a slight chuckle out but most of the funny moments were more smile inducing than gut busting. I definitely wanted more and not getting it meant walking out of the theater underwhelmed.

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Horror

Despite the given away moments taking from the tension of some early moments, at a certain point we’ve seen all of the stuff from the trailer and have no idea what to expect. This is where the tension becomes very real and Ready or Not starts to put Grace in some precarious situations that she doesn’t just magically escape from. They put Grace through a lot in this movie and Samara has tons of moments where she lets out guttural screams. She wasn’t doing pretty horror movie screams, she was going through it and you go through it with her. On this particular aspect alone Ready or Not works. If I had gone in having not seen the trailer I know I would have enjoyed the movie a lot more and that’s the most disappointing part.

The gore was real also. Though certain scenes from the trailer did not go as dark as I expected, they make up for it with some other scenes that are difficult to watch. The very end of the movie gets excessively bloody though by then you may be over it to a certain degree.

The Ending

The very end of the movie is what most people will likely be talking about. Knowing the setup going in, you have to wonder how the movie will resolve itself. Writing two horror-type movies myself I know that coming up with the right ending is difficult. You build up all this tension and mystery and you now have to bring it back down. Because of the comedy aspect of Ready or Not I thought that the ending worked. It was an interesting creative choice but I don’t think it’s one that should be considered controversial.

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Overall

Ready or Not is best going in without the trailer being fresh in your mind, or going in blind. If you like the horror comedy genre then Ready or Not is a movie for you. It’s a fun premise that the film does a great job with playing with. The ending takes you on a roller-coaster ride but in the end, I think, ends on a positive.

-Bibs

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