Jason Arment reviews Ready or Not, a black comedy horror film about a newlywed swept up in her new family’s wedding ritual. (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)
The horror genre has become markedly more cerebral in recent times, and it’s made movies like Ready or Not much more appealing. When I saw the trailer, I got an idea of the plot and didn’t catch any hint that it would turn into a Midsommar-esque slog through a shallow plot. Instead, Ready or Not works with the strong points of the cinema experience.
Most audiences have a good idea how a standard horror film unfolds and Ready or Not won’t make you wonder what in the world is going on. The motivations and intentions of its characters are never difficult to suss out; there is a clear protagonist and there are clear antagonists. Although there are a few surprises along the way, the viewer will largely know what they’re paying for when they walk into the theater. (If you aren’t paying to see it because you waited until it came out on a streaming service, you’re even better off.)
(Ready or Not movie poster)
I try to talk about “bang for the buck” of any given movie. I get a little touchy when I end up spending money on one film which could have been spent on another, much more deserving film. Audiences who pay for Ready or Not won’t have buyer’s remorse, and those who don’t will wonder why in the world so many of the movies they pay to see (or don’t pay to see) seem to be trying to totally corrupt or subvert film. I’m not one to pearl clutch about how things are changing, but I am one finger wag when a movie loses itself in trying too little or too hard.
Ready or Not is cast with actors who, for the most part, do a good job, some of whom you’ve seen before, none of which I’m going to list off in this review because you won’t remember them anyway, and, if you do, it won’t be for their role in this film. And while the film does rest on the artifice that is the horror genre, it’s not to say that it’s overly campy. Maybe just a little campy at times, but nothing like a few of the bigger-named movies that have been raved about by critics recently.
If you’re interested in seeing a fun horror film that doesn’t take itself too seriously and isn’t afraid to have a few laughs along the way, Ready or Not is a good option.