Movie Review – ‘Ready or Not’

A horror film that tries too hard to go for more laughs than tension... and fails at both.

Written by J.T. Johnson

SKIP IT

For the past hour, I’ve been going back and forth in my mind with whether or not I want to recommend “Ready or Not”. I have to admit that there were several moments in the movie where I really wanted to like the whole thing, but there is a certain blandness to the whole affair that kind of turns me off of the film ultimately. I think that the problem with the movie is that it wants to be multiple things and it also wants to repeat some of the same jokes a bit too much.

The movie is a horror comedy about a recently married woman named Grace (Samara Weaving). She has just married Alex Le Domas (Mark O’Brien), a member of a very rich family that runs a board games company. After their marriage, Grace is invited to the very private family room and told that they’ll be playing a game.

This is a tradition for the family that has carried on through the centuries. A mysterious box determines what game will be played. Unfortunately for Grace, the box has chosen Hide and Seek, the only game that requires the sacrifice of the loved one chosen. Grace has to hide until dawn in order to save her own life.

There are moments of genuine humor to go along with the horror… until the jokes begin to repeat themselves. Also, while humor can often complement the horror found in most good horror films, in this case it kills the horror. The family trying to kill Grace is so inept and stupid that you wonder how in the hell they survived for as long as they have.

None of them can aim a gun… or crossbow… or whatever they have that requires aiming. Most of them are bumbling idiots and about halfway through, you wonder how Grace hasn’t escaped them yet. The only real menace to Grace is a butler but that’s because he’s not played for laughs for the most part. The entire time that Grace is trying to hide from these morons, I never really felt like she was in any danger.

Earlier, though, I said that there were some moments where I really wanted to like the rest of the film. This includes a segment in the barn where Grace runs in with one of the younger members of the family. I also genuinely liked Weaving as Grace and Adam Brody as Alex’s troubled brother Daniel, the only family member who seems to be truly affected by what his family has to do.

The real waste in the casting department, sadly, is Henry Czerny as Tony, the current patriarch of the family. Czerny is a great character actor and has played truly menacing roles in films such as “Mission: Impossible” and “Clear and Present Danger”. Unfortunately, his menace is one of the things that was killed by the movie’s unending search for laughs over tension. Also wasted is Andie MacDowell as Becky, the matriarch who we don’t really get to know enough in order to feel anything for her one way or the other.

Yes, the look of the film is pretty decent and there’s a not-so-subtle message about the wealthy and the power they hold. Despite a few moments of greatness, though, I found that by the end of it, “Ready or Not” just didn’t grab me as much as I wanted it to and, therefore, I ultimately wanted to skip this game altogether.

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