READY OR NOT - Here Comes The Bride
Ready or Not is a wickedly funny black comedy with gore for days and a star turn from Samara Weaving.
When I see a movie, whether it’s at home or in the theater, the first thing I want out of it is to be entertained. I want to sit down, escape for a couple of hours, and not feel like I had to labor through what I just watched. I want to feel something other than hatred and bile. This is why you’ll probably never see me review a film that I just flat out hate. I do my homework and make sure those films don’t enter my orbit. I want to feel alive and in love with what a movie can do. This is why when I see a movie like Ready or Not, the new film from Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett, I want to tell everyone I can how it’s a gigantic ball of amazing wrapped in a blanket of pure awesomeness. That might sound like hyperbole, but I want you to fully understand how much I loved this movie.
Ready or Not tells the story of Grace (Samara Weaving), someone who grew up in foster care and has married Alex Le Domas (Mark O’Brien), the scion of an incredibly wealthy family that made their fortune on games. Alex has been estranged from the family, but he agrees to return for his and Grace’s wedding. After the wedding, Alex and the rest of his family inform Grace of a particular tradition that involves a new member of the family having to play a game. It just so happens to turn out it’s a deadly game of hide and seek with Grace serving as an intended sacrifice.
I don’t want to give too much information away about the plot because there’s a lot of detail work involved, detail work that’s fun to see played out. The film does a good job of quickly establishing the world Grace finds herself in, the “rules” of the game, and the backstory fueling it. From there, though, the fun really begins as it’s Grace vs. Alex’s family and what that represents.
Before I do dive into that, I want to note how much Samara Weaving owns the character of Grace. Right from the start, you get the impression that Grace is not to be messed with as she has an inner toughness. This is a character that grew up in multiple foster homes. She is a survivor, and Weaving brings that out wonderfully. Grace goes through hell and back, but she keeps fighting. In the hands of another actress, I feel the character could have been somewhat of a stock and generic approach. Weaving establishes a level of depth, humor, and determination to her role and is quite bad-ass at doing so. I do hope a multitude of people end up cosplaying as Grace, clad in a torn and bloody wedding dress and Chuck Taylors.
Now a lot of the reviews for the film will talk about how it’s a play on the poor fighting back against the rich, and, well, they’d be right. That’s one element at play. Ready or Not is filled with moments that establish Grace as an outsider to the monied world of the Le Domas dominion. They do not welcome outsiders easily, nor do they look favorably upon them. The whole lot of them are also highly unlikable. I’m sure those giving this film a negative review will be the type that don’t take too kindly to the rich being portrayed as elitist assholes because either they are on that level themselves or wish to be on that level. Hell… the film even has a character that came up from the gutter, married Alex’s brother (Played by Adam Brody), and is one of the most gung-ho about keeping the sanctity of the family tradition when it comes to Grace.
What the film says to all of this is that, well, the rich being horrible people in the name of family or, in a better context, tribalism is all a bunch of bullshit. This family does horrible things because they feel a bond to maintain the traditions, and there’s no questioning it or resisting it. Ranks quickly close when it comes to outsiders. Grace, on the other hand, has lots of questions and lots of resistance. She has no qualms about fighting back and burning it all down because she sees how ridiculous it is. As someone who absolutely despises people who throw up the whole “tradition” excuse for doing something horrible, I was quite delighted when I saw the concept roasted on screen.
And boy does Ready or Not roast this concept. This is a film that’s not afraid to showcase some gruesome kills while also bringing out some hearty belly laughs. There was one kill that had me laughing out loud for a good couple of minutes because of the absurdity and reaction of the other characters. For a family that’s all steeped in tradition, well, they aren’t the best of killers when it comes down to the matter. This film is full of downright pleasing moments if you’re not an utter kill-joy who gets the vapors at the thought of the lower class actually standing up for themselves.
There is also a religious aspect at play, but I’ll leave a lot of that out of the review because it would be too much towards the realm of spoilers. Let me just say that Grace gets a couple of specific wounds that will make anyone with a Sunday school education go, “Oh… I get what they’re doing here”.
Ready or Not is a film I’ll definitely be revisiting because of how much fun I had with the initial viewing and how much fun it’ll probably be with the knowledge of the world already in mind. This is a movie I hope does monster business for a late August dump-off after a studio transition. I hope it also angers the people that it is skewering, and I want them to totally miss the point the film makes regarding how the family made their fortune.
Again… sometimes you just have to burn it all down. Ready or Not does so with a delightful and twisted approach.