The end of August and the beginning of September are often underwhelming times to go to the movies.
It’s an awkward period in which the summer movie season is coming to a close, but the Halloween and Oscar seasons are still a ways off. Right now, movies such as “The Angry Birds Movie 2” are gracing the screen, soon to be followed by the upcoming fall releases.
However, every now and then there are some exciting movies that get released during this period. "Ready or Not," directed by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett, is one of these movies. While “Ready or Not” may not be as revolutionary or geniusly executed as other films this year, it still provides an enjoyable enough experience to keep audiences entertained.
“Ready or Not” is a sort of social thriller, starring Samara Weaving ("Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri") and Adam Brody ("Shazam!"), that follows a newly-wed couple whose wedding night is much more gruesome than most. The bride in the story is Grace (Weaving), a young girl who grew up bouncing between different orphanages and struggling to keep a family. The groom is Alex, who comes from the Le Domas family, an extremely rich group of lunatics who have some strange traditions to say the least.
They believe that in order to keep the Le Domas family wealthy, every time someone new joins the family, they have to play a game chosen nearly at random. In this case, the game is hide-and-seek. The twist: instead of simply finding Grace, the family plans to murder her.
While the plot of “Ready or Not” does have a few more little intricacies in it, it mainly focuses on a homicidal rendition of your favorite game from recess. Grace hides and fights her way out of being slaughtered, Alex tries his best to help her escape his family and the entire Le Domas clan chases her around their eerie family mansion armed with crossbows and medieval axes.
The simplicity, combined with a surprising amount of humor, makes “Ready or Not” a fun romp of a movie that will satisfy audiences right up until the credits roll.
The characters in the film are all something viewers have seen before such as weird, kooky cousins, the drunk but noble brother and the crazy aunt, but they all help set the movie’s tonal balance. “Ready or Not” isn’t afraid to be a straight-up silly and hokey movie at times, and these cardboard cutout characters allow it to go in outlandish directions.
There are multiple moments in the film where the plot is at a crossroads. On one hand, it could go in a direction that’ll make it a darker, more serious thriller. On the other, it could just say “screw it” and go in a sillier direction which leads to absolutely absurd situations and plot points. “Ready or Not” almost always chooses the latter, making the movie a comedy just as much as it is a thriller.
Weaving gives a strong performance as the lead role that could provide her with a launch pad to stardom. She plays Grace as a smart and confident woman who is just as baffled by the situation she’s in as the audience is. She is able to be convincing in the film’s more serious scenes, but she also pulls off the cheesy moments with ease. For example, there’s a moment where her character undergoes a bit of a change by ripping off parts of her wedding dress, throwing on some Converse and arming herself with a shotgun. It could have been a really cringey scene, but Weaving sold the scene so well that you almost want to stand up and cheer during it.
I hope to see Weaving get some more work following this. She’s already landed the role of Bill’s daughter in the upcoming “Bill & Ted Face the Music,” which hits theaters next year. So let’s just hope that she’s able to capitalize on that, too.
“Ready or Not” was an entertaining and surprisingly funny thriller that makes for money well-spent at the theater. It doesn’t hold back from being absurd at times, but that’s what makes it stand out from the crowd. It might not be one of the best movies of the year, but it’s still something I would recommend to anyone who's interested.