#REVIEW: “READY OR NOT”
Review by David Baldwin for Mr. Will Wong
Grace (Samara Weaving) and Alex (Mark O’Brien) get married at his family’s posh estate. After the festivities conclude, Grace joins her new family in a traditional game of hide and seek. In order to “win”, she has to stay hidden until dawn. Little does Grace know, her new in-laws will be hunting her with medieval weapons – and if caught, she will be turned into a blood sacrifice.
I have rewritten the description of Ready or Not a few times after watching the Film, not sure about how much information I should divulge. Because there is obviously much more going on than I have suggested – but the beauty of Toronto-made Ready or Not lies in how much we learn over the course of this tightly wound 95-minute Thriller, and how much we have to put together on our own. It never really even gives itself time to unpack everything, blasting headfirst. We go through introductions and straight into the game that kicks its Plot into high gear, all before even attempting to catch its breath. You likely will not find much time to catch yours either. That is not a slight against the Film; more of a high- strung praise, because so many other films just like it would not be nearly this bold, audacious and unforgiving. The title says it all: you are either ready or you are not.
The chaotic madhouse Directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett have helped create is inspired, elaborate and just plain fun. I had a smile on my face throughout the Film (even when I was cringing), and you can tell how much delight the pair had in making it. The attention to detail is oddly-specific, the vicious violence is amped up in comical fashion and the way they use Brian Tyler’s Score is impeccable and calculating. While I would have preferred they not rely so heavily on sepia tones, I found the look of the Film to feel like a character all on its own. The only time this directing pair stumbles is when they do not rein in the exposition heavy moments from Guy Busick and Ryan Murphy’s (not Glee) Script. All of these moments are needed of course, but they just lack the cohesion of the expertly cut scenes around them.
The small Cast is aces, no matter the role. O’Brien, Andie MacDowell, Adam Brody, character actor Henry Czerny and Canadian TV stars Melanie Scrofano and Kristian Bruun are all terrific – nailing just the right amount of chemistry together and feeling fully dimensional in their small moments apart. But they all pale in comparison to Weaving, who owns this Film at every single turn. She goes through hell and back, and keeps on swinging. Her physicality is astounding, as is the intense amount of effort she puts into each of her scenes. The only thing she does better is her wicked comedic timing. If she was not already on her way to being a star, she surely is now.
Ready or Not is total blast from start to finish. It is viciously violent, darkly-hilarious and tightly-wound. While it is far from perfect, its issues are easily overcome by how audacious a Film it quickly becomes. And with a star-making role from Weaving at the helm, this just might be the last great must-see of the Summer.
Fox Searchlight release READY OR NOT on Wednesday, August 21, 2019.