Grace from Ready or Not

Review: Ready or Not

Director(s)Matt Bettinelli-Olpin
Tyler Gillet
Principal CastSamara Weaving as Grace Le Domas
Mark O’Brien as Alex Le Domas
Adam Brody as Daniel Le Domas
Release Date2019
Running Time 95 minutes

As someone who loved Samara Weaving’s performances in both The Babysitter and Mayhem, I knew I had to watch this movie. I didn’t even watch a trailer – I just went in expecting to see a fun Weaving movie. I got that and so much more. Ready or Not is funny, clever, and brutal all at the same time.

The story follows Grace as she’s made to play a game of hide-and-seek after marrying into the wealthy Le Domas family. Except in this game, getting caught means being killed. What follows is an intense cat and mouse situation where Grace and the Le Domas family constantly seek to out maneuver the other party. What keeps these moments fresh is the circumstance under which the game is played and the family operates. I won’t spoil it, but the movie keeps you guessing on what’s really going to happen the whole time. Up until it was over, I didn’t know what was actually going to happen.

Even after having only seen the movie once in theaters and once for this review, I can remember most of the characters and their personalities fairly well. This movie, unlike a lot of other ones with big casts, doesn’t feel like it wastes any of its characters. There are clear motivations for each member – which is even more impressive when you realize how large the Le Domas family actually is. Yes, some of the arcs or backgrounds aren’t amazing or profound, but the fact that they are there at all is impressive.

Weaving absolutely kills it in her portrayal of Grace. She’s funny, wide-eyed, resolute, bad-ass, desperate, and everything in between. Her energy shines through and makes it really easy to root for Grace. It gives you a reason to care about the story and I found myself invested in the outcome. I think Brody’s performance as Daniel (Grace’s brother-in-law) was also fairly well done. He showed complexity and nuance and has some of the best character moments in the movie.

The movie’s discourse on families is interesting and doesn’t feel ham-fisted. Grace wants to be in the family because she’s always been alone- so for her family is a safe place. Meanwhile, her husband Alex resents his family for the practices they engage in so he wants to run away – but he still feels the need to follow tradition- which highlights just how strong family can influence the ordering of our desires. The way the parents evaluate their children’s’ spouses speaks volumes in what qualities they consider valuable. The perversion of family values is where the movie shines and the way it frames that discussion in relation to wealth adds another layer to think about.

Now for the problems. There are some character decisions in the third act that feel a bit off. They’re not incomprehensible, but they feel like they could have been developed a bit more so they wouldn’t feel as sudden. There are also some procedural issues I had with what knowledge what characters had about the mystery at the core of the plot. It feels like certain people should know things that would radically change their actions, but they don’t. Finally, there are moments where the camera feels/is handheld which takes away from the grandiose aesthetic. I wish the shots were stable throughout/moved only during more action-y scenes. This issue felt even more prominent on my second viewing. None of these problems are enough to make the movie bad, but they do lessen the themes the movie builds towards.

Report Card

TLDRReady or Not is a clever twist on the comedic slasher genre. The plot is well-paced and will keep you guessing about what’s going to happen up till the very end. There are some story issues that creep up in the third act, but they can’t detract from the absurdly fun journey/ending. If you enjoyed Knives Out, you may also like this. It’s weird – but this movie feels like a spiritual horror version of that one.

Go to Page 2 for my spoiler-full thoughts!


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