Shuffling into a cursed late summer slot, ambitious comedy horror Ready or Not sets itself up as an exception to the rule, a genre offering that might offer up something more than tired jump scares and gristle. It boasts a delicious premise, a tongue-in-cheek marketing campaign and aesthetically it’s one of the rare studio horror films of late that has a distinctive style. But it’s this heady initial promise that makes the ensuing mess such a crushing disappointment, an opulent feast that’s rotten on the inside.
3 out of 5 stars.
Setup - Grace - Samara - Weaving - Alex
The setup sees Grace (Samara Weaving) preparing to marry Alex (Mark O’Brien) and become part of his extravagant family, whose money has been made from selling a series of board games. Grace’s background is far less privileged and on the day of the wedding, she faces a tough uphill struggle to be seen as something more than a gold-digger. But once the nuptials are over, Grace faces something far more difficult. In an age-old family tradition, she must play a randomly picked game: hide and seek. While she initially views it as a lark, she soon finds out that the rules dictate that when she’s found, she dies.
There’s a certain level of bravery one must commend with the creation of a new comedy horror, a genre hybrid that’s close to impossible to perfect. It’s far easier to list those that have failed than it is to remember those that haven’t, especially within the last decade, film-makers mostly unable to handle the tonal shift required to make the combination fly. In Ready or Not, writers Guy Busick and R Christopher Murphy can’t quite turn their initial pitch into the film they clearly want to be making. From the outset, there’s a sharpness missing from the dialogue, withering one-liners failing to cut...
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