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Movie ReviewsReady Or Not – Fun Yet Flawed Filmmaking

Kielan EllisAugust 21, 201967/100
Starring
Samara Weaving, Adam Brody, Mark O'Brien
Writers
Guy Busick, Ryan Murphy
Directors
Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, Tyler Gillett
Rating
18A (Canada), R (United States)
Running Time
95 minutes
Release Date
August 21st, 2019
Overall Score
Rating Summary
Though fun and energetically executed, Ready Or Not fails to elevate its material past a "fun concept" to anything more groundbreaking. It's got one foot in one genre and one foot in another, and with no firm grasp on what it wants to be, it leaves the audience unsettled, and a little lost

(NSFW)

Ready Or Not is a new film distributed through Fox Searchlight that’s hitting theatres this week, but if you’re expecting the normal Fox Searchlight fare such as Moonrise Kingdom, The Shape of Water, or even (500) Days Of Summer, then you will be sorely surprised. Ready or Not is greatly energetic and entertaining, however, seems to get caught up in it’s own concept thus preventing it from becoming anything more than a late-summer action puff-piece, if only a very well crafted one.

To start with the positives, of which there are many, Ready Or Not is an excellently shot film. DP Brett Jutkiewicz crafts a beautifully balanced and shot picture, even if it has a few too many circular lens-flares for some tastes. The film has a beautiful color palate, set at night mostly, shot by candle and lantern lights, with strange accents of digital red and green LED’s that make an eerie and compelling world for the character’s to inhabit.

Speaking of the characters, the acting throughout the film is very well done. The absolute stand out is the lead, Weaving as Grace. Though she is relatively new to the scene of blockbusters, her biggest leading role yet being that of her character in 2017’s The Babysitter (a very underrated film in its own right), she shines here. Her characterization throughout is compelling, funny, and very sharp. It’s only a shame you won’t be able to remember her character’s name a day later, because Ready Or Not seemed more interested in creating a badass silhouette than developing her past skin-level. Fortunately for the film, Weaving does her absolute all with what she’s given, and gives a balls to the wall performance up there with any action lead in recent years. Another standout was Brody, showing he can really pull something off, even with a one dimensional character named Daniel. He’s one of the more interesting supporting characters as he puts in a compelling turn here.

While Ready Or Not does get’s caught up in its concept, it is certainly a good one. It may be interesting, thematically layered, and although those layers are simply revealed, it also features a wonderfully compelling at its core. Expect gore, expect blood, and expect to laugh a little more than you think you will, but not as much as they want you to. At the end of the day, despite the apparent negatives, the film is still worth a watch simply due to the fun you’ll have while watching it.

Speaking of, Ready Or Not is rather tonally inconsistent. It has one foot in comedy and one foot in thriller, and never quite becomes either. Despite wanting to make you laugh and cringe nearly simultaneously, it usually only succeeds in doing one, leaving a bad taste in your mouth, and an uneven, slightly half-baked final product. The film’s horror aspect was likely its biggest issue, as it could have exhilarated through clever writing and more social minded horror but instead, it does with cheap thrills and jump-scares, taking any form of supposed complexity, and immediately siphons it off. All of this leads to a sloppy and unearned conclusion – even if the lead-up is suitably tense.

Ready or Not is a fun time, it’s a summer popcorn flick (though popcorn is not recommended if you’ve got a week stomach), with layers that remain unexplored and performances far too good for the characters written. It may be fun and technically well done but it was still messy and poorly finished.

In the end, Ready Or Not, almost got it. In fact, they were about 67% of the way there.

*still courtesy of Fox Searchlight*


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