By Bradley Lane
Ready or Not is a film that revolves around a very simple concept; a game of hide-and-seek becomes a struggle to survive for a newlywed bride and newest member of an ultra-rich family. Its plot can be summed up in just a sentence, so what becomes interesting about Ready or Not is its ability to build upon its simple and fun premise. From some of the directors of horror cult hit V/H/S, Radio Silence, they had thoroughly established they could make fun and scary genre flicks, but they aim for much higher ambitions with Ready or Not. Despite its admittedly silly concept, Radio Silence aims not only to deliver over-the-top blood and gore, but also delivers a meaningful story with complex characters and themes. Unfortunately, these attempts feel on the nose at best, and totally forced at its worst.
The most pervasive idea presented in the film is the disparity between classes in modern America. Grace is our main character; she is marrying into the extremely wealthy LeDomas family. From the beginning of the film we are subjected to Grace’s limited point of view. We experience this strange world of extravagance through the eyes of someone grounded in the reality of a world that most audiences are familiar with, creating an instantly likable character. Grace is by far the best part of Ready or Not, not only in her writing, but especially by her performance by Samantha Weaving.
Looking past her excellent character, the film drops significantly in quality. The other members of the LeDomas family are portrayed as unlikable, unempathetic and incompetent caricatures of villains. I have no problems with this representation, but they dominate a lot of the runtime. Having characters this unlikable usually lends itself to comedy at their expense, but Ready or Not’s comedic attempts didn’t get so much as a chuckle throughout the film.
The other major issue I had with the film has to do with the main premise. It never really builds on the idea of a game of hide-and-seek past the idea of when she gets caught, she’ll die. There is an explanation to why they must play this game of hide-and-seek, but I found it frustrating in the sense it seems to shift responsibility for the family’s actions to an unnecessarily introduced third party. I am sure this twist will sit well with some viewers, but it read to me as an excuse not to develop the LeDomas characters with the same depth that they committed to Grace.
Ready or Not has a great premise and uses it to develop serious tension in a couple spots, but other than those select scenes, it fails to build on that idea, leaving me feeling like it could have been so much more than what it was when I left the theater. 2/5 stars