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Movie Review | Ready or Not

Grace (Samara Weaving) is ready for action in Ready or Not

Movie summary: A bride's wedding night takes a sinister turn when her eccentric new in-laws force her to take part in a terrifying game. (IMDb)

There are very few movies that are released where I go into them having some idea of what to expect, but Ready or Not was not one of them and so I saw it without any expectations other than it was apparently very good and hoping that it would live up to that - which it did. In fact, it's become one of my favourite movies of the year so far.

And this is despite a pretty flimsy premise that sets up a not-great story. There's not much done to set up what the Le Domas family have in store for Grace (Samara Weaving), other than Aunt Helene (Nicky Guadagni) acting in a very hostile and sinister manner from the get-go. You're introduced to the characters, the 'twist' is revealed and the movie goes from there.

I put 'twist' because it isn't exactly a great secret thanks to it being the foundation the movie is built on and it only feels like a twist thanks to very little being done to signal what's about to happen. You know something's going to happen because otherwise there's no movie, but it doesn't flow quite as well as I'd hoped.

That shaky start then leads to a series of events, most of which ultimately prove pointless as the family do end up getting Samara where they need her to be. To have so much of the running time effectively be unimportant to the plot would normally be a bad thing, but Ready or Not moves along at such a pace that it's something I didn't really notice until the movie was over.

And the ending is a little odd too, with a goofy and convenient way of resolving things that doesn't quite mesh that well with the rest of the movie. Despite this, it still works for reasons that I'll go into later, but the plot of the movie and the antagonists' reasons for doing what they're doing do feel a little at odds with each other.

Fortunately, very little of that matters thanks to Samara Weaving's sensational and star-making role as Grace. For a very one-note story of a young woman trying to keep away from people who want her dead, she makes sure that your attention remains firmly on her whenever she's on-screen. Even a marginally-lesser performance could've ruined the movie, but Weaving is excellent throughout.

Weaving actually reminds me of Daniel Kaluuya's performance as Chris in Get Out, as a character reacting like any sane person would if they found themselves in a horror movie plot. Except Weaver has far more action to be involved in and is never any less than utterly convincing. It's a masterful physical performance as much as an emotional one.

It's her utter conviction that sells you on the movie as a whole. Regardless of the flimsy plot, you absolutely buy into Grace's disbelief and horror at what she finds herself involved in because it feels like how anyone would react - especially when she screams in pain at the injuries she suffers that would merit maybe a small grunt in other movies.

Grace (Samara Weaving) climbs to freedom in Ready or Not

The rest of the cast are pretty great too, although no-one can match up to Weaving because they're never really given the chance to. The Le Domas family members all have their specific roles to play and are given very little development outside of the niche specified for them, which you won't care about because those niches are again performed to perfection.

It's surprising just how much humour there is in Ready or Not, and how much of it comes from the antagonists and their Wile E. Coyote frustration at Road Runner Grace constantly managing to evade their clutches. It's never over the top either, but instead always feels like genuine reactions to the events that occur across the course of the night.

The highlight on the comedic side of the performances comes from Orphan Black's Kristian Bruun as Fitch, who appears to be a new addition to the Le Domas family himself and is very much out of his depth with what is asked of him. He is ably assisted by Melanie Scrofano as Emilie, who has her own issues that present themselves in a very unexpected, but very funny, manner.

The last issue I have with the movie is the looks, thanks to it being set almost entirely at night and lit quite often by candles, making it look like many other horror movies. In fact, there are a couple of moments when it got dark enough that it was difficult to see what was happening. This may have been a deliberate choice, but was still frustrating for me.

Despite the problems I've mentioned, I cannot stress enough how much I enjoyed spending time with these characters, especially Samara Weaving's Grace. It helps that the movie absolutely flies by, giving you no real chance to think about the story too much until it's all over, neatly making a connection between the audience and Grace of being swept up in events.

Ready or Not is a horror-comedy that probably leans a little more towards the horror side of things, but is still very, very funny even when things get violent and bloody. And the best thing is that none of the humour feels forced or set up, but come across as being true to the characters and makes you like them even more.

Ready or Not is a fantastic movie that is only really let down by a story that doesn't really hold up if you think about it any great detail. To the movie's credit, you absolutely won't notice any issues while watching, as you'll be enjoying yourself too much to care. Samara Weaving is absolutely incredible as Grace and I expect to see her a lot more in the future.


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