Let me preface this by saying that I did exactly no research going into this theater. I had seen one trailer, but I didn’t undergo my usual routine of deep diving through reviews and ratings prior to reclining in those swanky new theater seats. To be honest, if I’m shelling out $15 to go watch a movie, I almost always want to make damn sure that it’s not going to be a Kickass 2 situation. Ready or Not was an exception, and I am so glad that it was. I was absolutely not ready for this movie.
What drew me in in the first place was a trailer that looked funny and seemed to possess a light-hearted, almost “Haunted Mansion”-esque aesthetic and approach to horror. What I got was hilarious, campy, and surprisingly gory. It wasn’t the craziest or most unpredictable horror movie that I’ve ever seen, but man did I enjoy it. It’s just fun.
The film itself is about Grace (Samara Weaving): a young woman who marries into the intimidating and absurdly wealthy Le Domas family, who have made their fortune through the game business (think Pictionary or Clue). On her wedding night, she discovers that she must play a game—which will be be randomly selected by drawing a card—in order to be accepted into the family. She has the misfortune of selecting “Hide and Seek”, the only game with lethal consequences. Grace must stay hidden and survive until dawn, as the family pursues her throughout their gothic mansion.
What this movie does best is disarm the viewer (pun somewhat intended). The comedy is so engaging that at times I completely forgot the promise of blood from the trailer. Kristian Bruun is the comedic stand-out of the film, portraying a hilariously self-centered and pampered outsider who has married into the Le Domas family. His presence and blase attitude keep you distracted and laughing, and went a long way towards my complete shock when the film took its inevitable turn.
That turn, ladies and gentlemen, is downright gruesome. In my mind, there are two categories of gore. The first is your classic vintage slasher brand of horror, inciting sympathetic “ooh’s” from the audience and maybe a flinch or two. There’s always lots of blood and maybe some impaling here and there, but the action happens quickly. The second is your Saw brand horror. This is straight body horror, with more silent recoiling from the screen by the audience than exclamations. This one moves slowly—it creeps under your skin and lingers there.
I expected category number one, with some fluff killings and probably a decent amount of blood-spatter. I did not expect people being slowly crushed to death, or an up-close, agonizingly slow shot of a rusty fence carving through a character’s back. I did not expect Superbad comedy and dismemberment. And that is where this film succeeds for me. On its own, the comedy or the horror might have been simply alright, but when you juxtapose the two, they’re incredibly fun.
Again, this movie may not be flawless. The plot is pretty predictable, and the dialogue can be a bit eye-rolling at times, but the visuals are spot on and the pacing is well managed. Overall, I’d give it 4 stars, for sheer enjoyment and watchability.