Ready or Not

Image result for ready or not poster

I’m torn on this one.

Grace (Samara Weaving) is marrying into one of the richest, most successful families around.  Alex (Mark O’Brien) had been estranged from his family for some time, but he knew that Grace wished for a family that had always eluded her as a child.  So, he brought her back to get married with her family.

However, there was more to this family than what met the eye.  On the wedding night, the family gets together with the new family member and that person draws a card of a game that they will play to induct that person into the family.  All the games are passive unless the person unluckily draws “Hide and Seek.”  Then the family has until dawn to find the person and kill him/her.  Grace, unfortunately, does exactly that.

I would have liked to have come into the movie without knowing exactly what was going to happen, but this is one of those movies that showed me too much in the trailer.  I can’t imagine that there is not a way to avoid the whole family is out to kill me angle of the movie and that could have been a great reveal.

I was not feeling this movie much.  It started trying to be mysterious, but I already knew what was going to happen (because of the trailers) so much of the first act was wasted for me.  There was a ton of exposition in the film and it was really noticeable.

The characters of this family were nothing more than cartoon characters.  I had a hard time buying almost any of them as real people.

The one exception was Alex’s brother Daniel (Adam Brody) who was an alcoholic who did not give two craps about anyone here, except his brother Alex.  Daniel was clearly conflicted and his internal struggle was one of the most fascinating parts of the first half of the movie.

Andy MacDowell, who played Alex and Daniel’s mother, said she was conflicted.  She claimed to like Grace, but I never believe that once.  The rest of the family members were complete caricature.

I did not find the humor to work much in that early part of the movie so these other family members really fell flat for me.

Then something strange happened.  I started to pull for Grace.  The more crazy things got, the more I wanted her to escape and save herself.  I think a big part of that is the actress playing Grace, Samara Weaving, does a great job of making this ridiculous setting work, showing the horror of the moment without underplaying it.  She was easy to root for.  Sure, she did some stupid things, but you could almost forgive her.

And the third act gets so bat-shit crazy that it caught me off guard and turned the movie around.  The strong finish helped wipe away a lot of the concerns I had earlier in the movie.

The movie has plenty to say about the rich and what they will do to maintain their grasp on their position.  Since this is similar to the ideas of “The Most Dangerous Game,” one wonders why this has not been pulled like “The Hunt” was.  Maybe the insistence of old time weapons is what keeps the plug from being poor.  It can’t be because, unlike The Hunt, the rich people in Ready or Not are the ones doing the hunting.  That would be very hypocritical, wouldn’t it?

Avoiding the controversy, Ready or Not was a slow start that I was really starting to dislike until it picked up the pace in the second act and knocked it out of the park with an explosive (and bloody) third act.  Since the ending is what sticks with me the most, I will give this a positive score.

3.5 stars

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