Ready or Not (2019)

Review: Ready or Not (2019)

01 Feb 20

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The Geets (greats):

This movie explores the marriage of Grace with her rich boyfriend Alex, and her being initiated into his family's long preserved tradition of playing games. This movie does an excellent job of being funny when it needs to be through dark humour. The strongly interspersed humour makes this movie feel like an entertaining game ride into horror.

Samara Weaving's acting as Grace is perfection as she goes through the various emotional changes, as well as showing a prowness to comic relief and expanding the perimeters of her character in such situations.

I especially enjoyed the devolving relationship between Grace, Alex and his brother Daniel. Before her initiation ritual into the family, Alex was trying to be protective of her by telling her to leave if she wants to as he cant bear to see her hurt. Even throughout the game he assists in telling her the truth regarding his family's deadly intent. It is only at the end when he makes a 'heel turn' and accepts his family heritage and succumbing to the fact that he must kill her to protect the family tradition. AS a viewer, I was surprised by this in the final act, as it shows the level of pressure and manipulation by the family members to change his mind.

On the other side of the spectrum, his older brother Daniel is growingly sceptical of the centuries-old tradition and continues feeling guilt for continuing with this practise. This movie does an excellent job capturing his transformation from guilt-stricken to finally opposing family values and succumbing to self-righteous act and morality. The striking antithesis in the 2 brothers' transformation throughout the film is equally and effectively balanced to show the fine balance between fragility of the mind and humanism. While the other family members maintain a 'stone cold' devotion to this sinister practise, this creates a substantial forum where the extend of the brothers' feelings are compounded.

It could even be said that as the movie progresses, Daniels feels more humanely connected to Grace than does Alex. He shows a certain level of vulnerability to conduct the heinous traditional acts as she reminds him of everything that humanity represents. It is her surrendered and compassion to live life that ultimately drives him to turn against his family members.

As all of these substantial emotions are played out, it is the dark humour and the thrill of entertainment of the game which keeps this movie feel like a captivating experience.

Throughout the film, the theme of scepticism is explored quite well. Some of the family members question whether this long-lived tradition is superstitious belief or something primordial and still existential. This is revealed in the final act when it turns out to be embedded within supernatural elements, as if failure to play the game will lead to death. It shows that the family entrusted in a long-lived curse which they can never escape. Just like Cabin in the Woods, there is a certain propensity to accept the final act, as we cant help but watch the comic deaths of those bound by the tradition's contract, ultimately proving that morality will trump family values. When the filmmakers make you feel as though the protagonist did, as the antagonists (of whom some are innocent) succumb to the curse, you can appreciate the psychological intelligence with which this movie operates in.

The inevitability of a supposed 'deal with Devil' cannot be undone many years ago and the succeeding family members will be bound by this pact, until it is broken with devastating consequences. In this movie, the fragile representation of innocence is palpable and often overlooked by the dark humour. In the end, it is the progressively transformative climate of morality and perceptions of traditions to modern times which signals the inevitability of death for family members, who represent a 'dying' tradition. This is implied perfectly n the final act with comic overtones, as outside forces (Grace) may seem disruptive to the natural social and emotional fabric of family values and create a natural drive towards modernism.

The Phads (bads):

At times this movie shows an overt tendency to dark humour, even in situations which require calculated decision-making. As such, it may not be perceived well for the intellectual audience. The constantly changing emotions within family members can also seemed to be overshadowed by comedy, which seems unnecessary at times. I would enjoy this movie much better without the constant use of comic relief. Although it helps with the superficial concept of playing 'hide and seek', it does little to make the emotions stand out as effectively.

Rating: 7/10
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