Ready or Not (2019)

readyThere must be a sub-genre or something for tosh such as this, in which apparently normal, unassuming characters get thrown into bizarre and unusual situations and suddenly go all Ripley or Sarah Connor or Ethan Hunt. Yeah, lets call it the Sarah Connor Genre.

Take Ready or Not, a horror-comedy (a particular genre that irks me somewhat anyway) in which Grace (Samara Weaving) marries Alex (Mark O’Brien) at his family’s luxurious estate. Alex’s family is extremely wealthy thanks to a game-making empire that has run for generations, but a family tradition of playing a randomly-selected game on her wedding night leaves Grace playing a deadly game of hide-and-seek, in which her in-laws have to hunt down and kill Grace before dawn or suffer some supernatural doom. They really are the Relatives From Hell.

Nah, don’t concern yourself with the preposterous plot. What really gets daft is how unassuming Grace, still in her wedding dress and looking forward to a lovely wedding night under the covers with Alex, suddenly transforms into some fantasy comic-book heroine. Allow me a few spoilers (or skip to the next paragraph, I’d hate to ruin such splendid entertainment for you, seriously, no, go on, I’m sure you want to rush off and watch this…). Still here? You see, she gets a shot through the palm of her left hand (leaving a gaping bloody hole), then has a rusty nail put through it as she pulls herself out of a hole, suffers a twenty-thirty foot fall, a car crash, a gaping wound in her back, is beaten up a few times (smashed in the face with the butt of a rifle for good measure), is shot with a tranquilizer gun… and walks out of the film the sole survivor. Yeah she walks out of there having massacred the in-laws (albeit with a little help from the devil when they have forfeited his deal for fabulous riches, but I guess that’s some kind of Supernatural Community Chest thing). Game Over, man, Game Over.

Its silly nonsense, and I guess with that crazy plot it had to be, but you know, playing it for laughs… its a fine balancing act that surely undermines any sense of horror and tension. Part of me wishes that the film-makers had the balls to do it all serious, like a Eyes Wide Shut meets The Most Dangerous Game, in which a commoner discovers that yes, some rich people really are evil bastards. There’s a really good, quite scary horror film in there somewhere and maybe some social commentary about us plebs being pieces on a chess board. If, as I say, it was done seriously. Instead this thing is done for laughs (well, giggles) with a cast of nutty oddball characters and a heroine that seems typically indestructible. Its just so typical of films these days, disposable entertainment easily forgotten that might have been unsettling and profound. I think that’s what bugs me about films like this- its instantly forgettable. Watch it once, forget about it. Whatever happened to films that said something, that meant something, that stuck in your head for more than a few hours or days? This thing… I’m writing this down now because I’m sure in a few days it will be all a blur and a few weeks later totally forgotten. Probably merciful, mind.

5 thoughts on “Ready or Not (2019)

  1. Oh dear — now I feel bad for recommending it to you! This kind of style and tone works for me; in part because the setup is so preposterous that, if it were played straight, there’s a fair chance I’d be taking the piss out of its improbabilities, so the film kinda beats me to it by doing it itself.

    1. Yeah I think a lot of it is a question of mood. How reactionary I get to some of the, as you say, ‘improbabilities’ of stuff. I think I get irritated by how a lot of modern films lazily just take the piss, I know all film is manipulative but a lot of this new stuff is just, well, its almost as if they are not trying to be real, as if they have absolutely no respect for the audience (how can I respect that, let them get away with that?). It easy to show someone getting a hole blown out of their hand and have them tie it in a rag and carry on, or in later fights etc when they should be nauseous with pain and throwing up and collapsing from exhaustion etc. Just because you can show Marvel heroes doing stuff like that doesn’t mean anyone in any movie can. I realise I’m possibly taking it too seriously but why shouldn’t I? A lot of films have no tension or drama because everything is getting like a cartoon, and I do wonder where will it all end.

      Violence without any real repercussions or realistic outcome undermines that violence and as I think we’ve discussed before, that can get dangerous. A child character got pushed off the roof of a house in an episode of the new season of The Boys that I watched the other night, and got up perfectly fine. The show had a predictable excuse for that, naturally but all the same, just doing something like that for shocks or laughs is tricky when a kid could watch that and it give him/her ideas.

  2. EditMSM

    I loathed this film. It made me realise I need to investigate things more carefully before following any more recommendations from the nerdsphere.
    Smug, unexciting and for the most part unfunny.

    1. Funny thing is, I was half-asleep when I got notification of your comment, and I initially thought you were commenting on my review of Ready Player One from ages ago, and your observations fit that film too, so I really didn’t sniff a rat until I looked at it again properly.

      You’re right though, which is what bugged me most about Ready or Not- it wasn’t really funny, considering the humour was at the expense of any horror. Unrelentingly lazy, I’d say, but it seems everybody these days thinks they can make movies. What happened to the real pros and gents like Robert Wise? (yup, still reading that making of Star Trek: TMP book).

  3. Pingback: The 2020 List: October – the ghost of 82

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