Dealing with in-laws can be an immense source of stress, and according to some studies, is even one of the top causes for divorce.
Couple this with the anxiety and stress already associated with weddings and the result can be quite difficult.
So naturally, the horror genre is the perfect place to take this idea, and run with it to its most extremely disturbing (and hilarious) extreme. The result is 2019’s Ready or Not.
In terms of pacing, characterization, kills, and laughs, it’s an absolute perfect horror-comedy (as well as my favorite movie of 2019). So, just for fun, let’s seek out what makes it so brilliant!
(Minor Spoilers Ahead)
Part of what makes this film really work is that each character is compelling and funny in their own way. Everyone from the cynical brother (Adam Brody) to the father with a childlike temper (Henry Czerny), to the drug addicted sister that keeps killing the maids by mistake (Melanie Scrofano) to the incredibly terrifying Aunt Helene (Nicky Guadagni).
Even minor characters like the butler Stevens (John Ralston) have a lot more development than he should have (in a good way). It serves to enrich the story by giving us characters that are entertaining to watch, even with Grace (Samara Weaving) isn’t on screen.
And while we’re on the subject, the fact that Grace is the epitome of the underdog, makes her all the more fun to root for.
Having grown up poor in foster care, and now fighting for her life against this rich family, who represent everything she ever wanted, make her all the more relatable.
Plus, while she does become a badass over the course of the night, it’s done at a gradual, realistic pace. She starts out as an ordinary person, but is forced into action hero territory by a crazy situation.
The variety of old school weapons makes for some very fun and interesting kills, though they all pale in comparison to the ending where everyone explodes. It’s kind of an absurd subject, and the movie realizes this, with a great sense of humor.
Creative Production Design
Much like the Overlook Hotel, the Le Domas mansion feels like a character itself. It has a really cool “old money” feel with the 19th century décor, wooden paneling, and light by candles. The entire film takes place on the Le Domas estate and throughout the movie, the audience is never bored with the setting.
Plus, we even get to see other board games produced by the family, and honestly, they look like a lot of fun. It’s a shame that these games were only ever just props, and weren’t mass produced. Because they look like they’d be a lot of fun at a dinner party!
Ready or Not is far from the first film to feature a people hunting other people. The Purge franchise, The Hunt, The Most Dangerous Game, The Strangers, and many others come to mind.
But what separates Ready or Not from these others is that the Le Domas family members aren’t hunting Grace because they enjoy it, or because they’re psychotic (except for Aunt Helene).
They’re hunting her because they believe that if they don’t follow through with the ritual they will die (which winds up being true).
Because of this, their motivation to hunt her feels more justified, and makes them desperate by the end. It doesn’t excuse their behavior or make us sympathize with them at all, but it does help the audience understand them better, as well as make them more compelling.
Overall, Ready or Not is just a ton of fun, which is definitely worth seeing if you haven’t!
Ready or Not is now streaming on HBO
You can also check out Halloween Year-Round’s new YouTube channel!