Off-Topic: Ready or Not (2019) Review

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Ready or Not (2019) is not a complicated film. It’s a composite film. It takes inspiration from better movies for its multi-genre narrative. These influential movies include, but are not limited to, The Purge and Get Out.

Knives Out (though released after RoN) and Ready or Not share a lot of similarities but couldn’t be more different. The former has a strong cast who portray an intriguing upper class family that is haunted by a dead person. The latter has an average cast excluding Samara Weaving who plays the lead, and the remaining characters have by-the-number personalities. The former is a mystery which reveals a crucial plot point at the beginning of the flick. The latter does the same but its first half has predictable twists, the second act is mildly entertaining and only the third act drew a grasp of Oh from my lips. Both films also critique class through the main character not being well-off in comparison to the secondary figures. But Knives Out did it so much better due to both unparalleled writing and original direction.

The directors and writers behind Ready or Not are not first-timers though this is undoubtedly their first big-budget feature. And the amateurishness of their skills shines brightly even though the plot barely lights up. The storyline of Ready or Not reminds me of one of those Super Chiller series of unconnected young-adult thrillers written by the legendary R.L. Stine. Even though Ready or Not is an adult-orientated picture there is nothing about it which seemed mature.

The film markets itself as a horror comedy. Well, the comedy is its worst aspect. There was not a single one-liner or joke which made me laugh. To add insult to injury, the writers made the characters utter phrases of profanity like Fucking fucked which seemed like they had run out of all the tricks in the book required to add a semblance of humor to their mediocre screenwriting.

Samara Weaving’s talents are absolutely wasted. She does appear in these types of films a lot and is deservedly always the center of attention, and not only due to her stunning looks. The Babysitter is an example of how to take a horror comedy with a simple premise and make it a mindblower. Ready or Not is the opposite. It tries to make a complex plot even more complex by adding layer after layer of clichéd mystery over a predictable climax which is that the family is out to kill the heroine. Ironically, the writer revealed this in the first five minutes. Also, killing citizens for fun or as a ritual is not something never seen before in movies especially those that were released in this century.
Maybe with a better cast (though they might not as untalented as their characters were tedious) this film would’ve stood out. In Knives Out, you don’t just remember Chris Evans’ character because the actor portraying him also plays Captain America, but because the individual he plays is memorable months after you’ve initially viewed the film. In Ready or Not, besides Samara Weaving’s Grace, the rest are forgettable at best.

Underneath the bad writing, dull cinematography and average direction, exists a better film. No doubt Ready or Not had the potential to be as jaw-dropping as The Babysitter, but due to the laziness of its creators, it just didn’t hit the mark by giving us something new. The South Korean Oscar-winner Parasite might not be a horror comedy but its depiction of class consciousness is something never seen before, and thus, it succeeds where Ready or Not fails, and that is: creatively showing the disparity between the rich and the poor through the lens of a black comedy.