Ready or Not

 

starHalf



There’s little fun or fear in this splatter farce about a bride contending with the deadly shenanigans of her demented in-laws.

 
Ready or Not

Game for a barf: Samara Weaving

 

To quote Joe Pesci in GoodFellas: “Funny how? I amuse you? How am I funny?" The humour in Ready or Not is decidedly of the black variety, being a sort of Pythonesque alliance of Get Out and Clue. Yet the tone is all wrong. As the premise is completely barmy, it should either have been played with a wink and a nudge from the start, or just ploughed in with a straight face. Alas, the film opens with the standard prologue, signalling that this is more of the same old, same old. So, the genre is going to be generic…

 

The games that people play. On the day of her marriage to the black sheep heir of a gaming dynasty, new bride Grace (Samara Weaving) discovers that her in-laws are not just eccentric but severely unhinged. If you can imagine the Addams family decamped to the Texas retreat of Leatherface, you’d be in the right neck of the woods. However, the film is ludicrous without being witty and is too formulaic to be remotely scary or even interesting. While Margot Robbie lookalike Samara Weaving (The Babysitter, Three Billboards) gamely adopts a can-do get-outta-here stance, she is given little to bite on as a genuine character, and so we just don’t care. In Get Out, Daniel Kaluuya's Chris arrived fully-formed, even before Bradley Whitford started to pile on the patronizing platitudes. Here, Aunt Helene (Nicky Guadagni) glares out of the sidelines like a misplaced gorgon and so the pantomime begins.

 

One hates to drag Saw into the conversation, but at least that seriously sick franchise had ingenuity and invention to spare and earned its array of 18 certificates. Here, the comic gore is merely laughable and one wonders why the 18 was applied when equally graphic horror films get by with mere 15s (and don’t get me started on John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum). Even the now standard obliteration of a character’s head is fleetingly brief, compared to what is on display in such recent fare as Midsommar and Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood. But that is the least of the film’s worries.

 

JAMES CAMERON-WILSON

 

Cast: Samara Weaving, Adam Brody, Mark O'Brien, Henry Czerny, Andie MacDowell, Nicky Guadagni, Nicky Guadagni, Elyse Levesque, Kristian Bruun, John Ralston.

 

Dir Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett, Pro Tripp Vinson, James Vanderbilt, Willem Sherak and Bradley J. Fischer, Screenplay Guy Busick and R. Christopher Murphy, Ph Brett Jutkiewicz, Pro Des Andrew M. Stearn, Ed Terel Gibson, Music Brian Tyler, Costumes Avery Plewes.

 

Fox Searchlight Pictures/Mythology Entertainment/Vinson Films-20th Century Fox.

95 mins. Canada/USA. 2019. Rel: 25 September 2019. Cert. 18.