Monday, 25 November 2019

Ready or Not ★★★★★

Ever since Jordan Peele burst onto the scene with Get Out, horror filmmakers have had to make more of an effort to create innovative and subversive shockers with something fresh and different to say. Maybe they’ll hold a mirror up to society, maybe they’ll pack in ghastly laughs, or maybe they’ll achieve both. What they musn’t do, is resort entirely to CGI and jumpscares – something that, sadly, IT: Chapter Two was guilty of. Directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett, who had previously worked together on the pretty poor Devil’s Due (that was guilty of the above horror crimes), rise to the challenge with their new shocker Ready or Not – and it is a doozy.

Grace (Samara Weaving, niece of Hugo) couldn't be happier after she marries the man of her dreams (Adam Brody) at his family's luxurious estate. There's just one catch - she must now hide from midnight until dawn while her new in-laws hunt her down with guns, crossbows and other weapons as part of a deranged and psychopathic family ritual. As Grace desperately tries to survive the night, she soon finds a way to turn the tables on her not-so-lovable relatives resulting in, well, just a little bit of bloodshed. Ok, a lot of bloodshed. Like, a lot a lot.

Darkly hilarious and bitingly smart, this crowd-pleasing horror is a refreshing wake-up for the genre. If you’ve seen Adam Wingard’s 2011 You’re Next, you’ll have a pretty good idea how this one plays out. Often comically violent and full of black wit, Ready or Not is a blast. While there is a lot to be said for the film’s wry commentary on privilege and tradition, I’ll leave that for you to ponder on when you’ve seen the film. The film is a truly decadent and disturbingly hilarious blast, full of over-the-top violence and some bloody good performances. The film’s lead, Samara Weaving, is an absolute revelation and could easily be one of Hollywood’s next big stars – her blood-soaked performance here is bad-ass and a far cry from her past on Australian soap opera Home & Away. With upcoming roles in Bill & Ted’s long-awaited threequel and an upcoming action comedy alongside Daniel Radcliffe, methinks a star is born with this one.

But the entire cast is great here – largely unknown, an ensemble cast including Adam Brody, Mark O’Brien, Henry Czerny and one of the film’s few ‘stars’ Andie MacDowell all shine with the film’s hilarious screenplay from Guy Busick and R. Christopher Murphy, newcomers to the scene who have made a hell of a first impression. The squeamish among you should be warned that Ready or Not absolutely deserves its 18 age certificate – this one is bloody. But while it is visceral and occasionally disturbing, some of it is played for very dark laughs. That sentence sums up the film in general – while disturbing, it is funny. It just requires a very dark and twisted sense of humour, which deep down I think we all possess…

I absolutely loved Ready or Not. In such a crowded genre full of reboots, remakes, sequels and a general lack of originality, it’s great to watch something that is just a good old-fashioned ride. This one is heaps of fun – albeit disturbingly violent – and a perfect antidote to the disappointment of films like IT: Chapter Two. I had an absolute blast with Ready or Not and I am positive that you will too. Here it comes.

Sam Love

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