I think I would have enjoyed Ready or Not
more if the trailers had not already revealed so much. I'm going to have to tread lightly in this review, as I don't want to ruin more of the experience that the studio already has with their ad campaign. It's not so much that they've revealed the whole movie in advance, but that they have given us too much information, so we know what to expect long before it starts happening.
The movie is a bloody satire on the wealthy 1% that aims to be a survival thriller, but at the same time, doesn't want to take itself seriously in the slightest, and revel in over the top comedy and bloodshed. Think The Most Dangerous Game
, crossed with the low brow humor of Monty Python
. The combination is sometimes successful. I will admit to laughing out loud from time to time. But again, I think the trailer reveals too many highlights. This is a thin concept propped up by some lovely dark cinematography by Brett Jutkiewicz, and a fast-paced tone set by directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett (Devil's Due
). The movie looks great, and the cast is obviously game. It's the screenplay by Guy Busick and Ryan Murphy that my issues start with.
First off, I want to say that I am commonly not offended by vulgarity in movies. What does offend me is when it is not used well. Vulgarity is an art, and a good screenplay knows how and when to use it. A perfect example would be last weekend's Good Boys
, which reveled in four-letter words, but used them wisely, and got big laughs from them. In contrast, Ready or Not
uses many of the exact same words, but exploits them in such a way that it just sounds dumb. It reads like young kids who have just discovered these words, and want to use them in the dialogue as often as possible to show how "mature" they are. When a movie resorts to repeated vulgar words simply for shock value, I tend to get bored. It doesn't feel earned here. The dialogue in this movie often sounds forced, immature, and kind of dumb. People don't swear this way. It sounds like the words were slipped in, like the writers thought they were getting away with something, just by having the characters curse repeatedly, and sometimes giving a long string of vulgar language all at once.
It's hard for me to fully get into a movie when I keep on cringing to myself at the lines the actors are being forced to speak. There were things I did like here. The movie has an effective premise, where a young bride (Samara Weaving) has just married into an insanely wealthy family, who insist that she must play a game with them at the stroke of midnight in order to be fully accepted into their family. The game that is chosen is hide and seek. While the unsuspecting bride goes to find a place to hide, the other family members load up with guns, axes and crossbows, and begin hunting her. That's all you really need to know, and all the trailers should have said. The reason behind the deadly game should have remained a mystery, but the ad campaign even hints at that.
I am reminded of the Pet Sematary
remake from earlier this year, where the ad campaign gave away a crucial twist that the filmmakers made in order to deviate their movie from the source material, and the earlier film adaptation. If you walk in with this information in advance, there's not much to discover. I have no idea why studios feel we should have most of the information before we see the movie. Of course, this is nothing new in Hollywood. Some have even defended this practice, such as filmmaker Robert Zemeckis, who has often said that people want to know exactly what they're going to get when they go to the movies. He likened going to the movies to the menu at McDonald's, where you instantly know what the menu is walking in. It angered me when I initially read this statement back in 2000, and it still angers me. If there are no surprises to be had, it's often not a fun experience at the movies.
Ready or Not
veers strongly from camp humor to equally campy thriller, and doesn't seem all that concerned with anything other than keeping the body count high. There are a couple moments that hint at suspense, but they are brought down either by a cheap laugh, or some overly CG blood and gore. I can see how this movie will be a lot of fun for some people. Heck, like I said, I even found myself laughing from time to time. But I never fully got invested. I don't know if it was the fact that I felt like I already knew most of what was going to happen beforehand, or if it was the fact that some of the dialogue just landed with a crashing thud for me. I wanted to have a lot more fun with this than I was. It's not a bad movie by any means, and you may like it. If you're a fan of cheesy humor and gore, you definitely will.
I can easily see this getting a cult following, and I wish the movie all the best. I just felt like I had already seen it all, except for the stuff that wasn't good enough to be in the trailer, sometimes for obvious reasons. I don't regret watching it. I regret watching the trailer beforehand.