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Film Review: Ready or Not (2019)

Ready or Not (2019) is a small horror film centralised the idea of hide and seek. Directed by Matt Bettinelli-Oplin and Tyler Gillett, two-thirds of the Radio Silence production team, this film stars Samara Weaving, Mark O’Brien and Adam Brody as leads. After the wedding of Grace (Weaving) and Alex (O’Brien), Alex’s family tradition leads the couple to play a game of hide and seek. However, the family suspects that if they let Grace live until dawn, they will all be killed by a curse. It is her mission to stay alive through her wedding night.

Ready or Not (2019) – source: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Having a film centre around a childhood game is a trend that we have seen in the past few years, particularly with comedies such as Game Night and Tag. However, I particularly find it clever how they turned the idea of hide and seek into a horror film, with a chase and suspense element added to it. It is a smart film concept, and one that can fill a film with some background and lure to the storyline, like this one does.

What makes this game of hide and seek so thrilling is the production design of the film, which essentially has to stay in one location. The mansion is absolutely stunning, and fitting for a family with a huge gaming business behind them. The main hall is magical yet also eerie, and there are several rooms that leave you in suspense for what could happen with them. They make good use of the space, both inside and out, and it is clear that a lot of work went into it.

To hold a film like this with very few people in, you need to have large personalities to carry the story. Samara Weaving is excellent as a scared yet ruthless bride who is willing to do anything to survive the night. The family are well written and filled with personality, particularly with the heads of the family and the maid. Each character feels a certain way about the events of the night, and they aren’t copy and paste of each other just to add more threat. I liked the fact that some of the characters felt bad for Grace and her situation, and I liked that some of them only did it for a survival instinct.

Ready or Not (2019) – source: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

This film does not go for scares but instead suspense and shocks and extremely gory moments. This works incredibly well as the action looks real for a film made on a $6 million budget. There were some moments here that made me want to look away because I could feel the pain that Grace was going through. There are more than a few moments of horror and I am glad it did not just rely on jump scares. It made me shudder, and that is a sign of a good horror film.

The first half is incredibly strong, but it does run the case of losing a bit of momentum in the second half. There is only so long that they keep Grace locked inside the facility of the house, and after that moment I felt the film did drag on a little bit. It is a short film, at just 95 minutes, but it is a script that goes a bit insane after the first half to try and continue adding suspense and disbelief. The time does fly by quickly though, and there are still a lot of fun ideas, particularly at the end, which I liked.

Out of every character in this film, the one that I ended up not liking at all was the husband, Alex. Everything involving his storyline in the film feels forced, and yet I had no connection with what should be one of the main characters of the entire film. It is as if the team had no idea how to write him, so they hide him away for a bit and have someone else in the family explain what his role of the film should be. His actions felt quite odd and out of place, and I ended up not caring about him in the slightest. If they had used that second half to develop his character and relationships a bit more, it may have made the ending of the film just that bit stronger for me.

Ready or Not (2019) – source: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
This seems to be the season of fun horror flicks, and I am absolutely okay with this. This film works well as a horror film and does not overstay its welcome for too long. It is a blast from start to finish, and I am glad that the team had fun with the subject matter and the idea of hide and seek being threatening. I would definitely recommend this one for those who enjoy horror films and are looking for something a little less serious.

Have you had a chance to see Ready or Not yet? Did it surprise you as much as it did for me? Let me know in the comments below and let’s have a discussion.

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