Ready or Not

Directors: Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett
Writers: Guy Busick and R. Christopher Murphy
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IMDB’s Movie Summary: A bride’s wedding night takes a sinister turn when her eccentric new in-laws force her to take part in a terrifying game.

My Thoughts: So Ready or Not (2019) is a part thriller, part comedy in which Samara Weaving plays Grace, a young woman marrying into an incredibly wealthy and eccentric family, who then spend her wedding night trying to murder her. It’s a simple concept that’s not particularly original, but that has the potential to be executed masterfully. So what did I think of Ready or Not? Let’s dive into my thoughts on it.

What I think worked: So right away, the first thing to talk about with this film are the performances. As I already mentioned above, the main star of this film is Samara Weaving, and she absolutely knocks it out of the park. She has a really good emotional range, and also did a fantastic job making her character instantly likable. Movies like this need to have protagonists who are easy to route for, and she fits that role perfectly. Similarly, all of the other actors are fantastic at being easy to hate dicks. With the exception of Adam Brody as Daniel, who is the only person in this film to go through any kind of meaningful arc, every actor or actress in this film who is not named Samara Weaving does a fantastic job playing an enormous douchebag who I cannot wait to see die in some horrific, brutal way. It’s just the nature of this kind of movie. However, that’s not to say that anyone gives a forgettable performance. Each member of the family have their own unique mannerisms and little bits of characterization here and there that really makes the characters all pop.

Aside from the fantastic performances, I think the action here is fantastic as well. Depending on the tone of the scene, it is used to generate both intensity and comedy at different points throughout the story, and I think it generally strikes a really good balance with the amount of gore it shows. Cause don’t get me wrong, the action in this film can get bloody and messy as shit—especially the scene in the barn—but it never really feels gratuitous to me. The directors clearly know how to avoid gratuitous, over the top gore like you see in other movies in this genre, and it’s awesome to see that. However, at the end of the day, the main thing I love about the action is how fucking satisfying it is to watch. Because even though I consider it to be very well made, it is an undeniable fact that this film was made for the sole purpose of crafting a scenario in which we the audience get to have fun watching Samara Weaving be a badass, and survive all of these murder attempts and scenarios while wearing a wedding dress and just generally being awesome. And eventually, she stops just trying to survive and starts fighting back, and oh boy does it become a fun romp at that point. The thing is, this movie could still have good acting, and everything else that I’ll mention below, but I think it’s important to make it clear that without the tone, the action, and Samara Weaving being as perfect as they are, this entire film would fall apart. Alright, tangent over, let’s continue.

Another thing that I think Ready or Not absolutely nails is its score. This is something I don’t normally talk about too much, but holy shit it’s amazing! There are even two songs that were commissioned for it. Both are used twice during the runtime, in two very different contexts, and they’re honestly perfect for the scenes they’re used in. The first is called The Hide and Seek Song, and is written by James BairianLouis CastleDaniel Iannantuono and Darren Howard. It’s a jaunty little song with some creepy undertones, and does wonders to make both of the scenes it’s used in more effective. Genuinely, its use the second time around is the set up for some of the funniest moments I’ve seen in a movie. It’s absolutely wonderful. The second is a cover of Love Me Tender, a song originally written by Vera Matson and Elvis Presley, performed here by Chuck Jackson. It’s used during the movie’s opening and closing credits, and I think it works really well as a nice bookend to the whole experience. There are also a few Beethoven Sonatas and Symphonies sprinkled throughout, which I also thought was a nice touch. Beyond that, the actual score, written by Brian Tyler, is also very well done. Great stuff all around!

So overall, Ready or Not is a movie with a fantastic lead, some great thrills, a few genuinely horrifying moments here and there, and some excellent comedy. It’s backed by a very strong set of supporting characters, it sneaks a few little character arcs in there, and has a great soundtrack and score to go along with it. But most importantly, it allows me to turn off my brain for two hours and enjoy watching Samara Weaving be a badass and continually outwit and systematically destroy a bunch of assholes. I’m not arguing that it’s high art or anything like that, but it is one of the most rewatchable movies I’ve ever seen, and there really isn’t anything I’d change about it. It’s an absolute romp from beginning to end, which is why it is one of my favorite movies of all time, and is getting a 10/10.

Written on 08/22/2021

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