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Fantasia 2019 Film Review: “Ready or Not” (2019) ★★★★

© 2019 – Fox Searchlight

What specifically needs to be done for an entire family to be called complete psychos? When I am saying psycho, it includes every definition you can find in the dictionary. It starts with the children and ends with adults, you can trust my words, with no age limitations. And when that happens, nothing can really help you escape the inevitable, the only outcome which the family accepts – death.

Grace (Samara Weaving) met the man of her dreams, Alex (Mark O’Brien). He is loving, kind, generous and extremely supportive. Minutes away from getting married, both of them are excited to start a new life together as a family. But there is a little problem; before Grace becomes a part of the famous Le Domas family, she needs to pass the initiation lies by playing cards on the very same night of the wedding. If she pulls out the wrong card, she has no choice but to participate but if she picks a plain blank card, nothing will happen other than a life she can live with her husband happily ever after. But as you can assume, luck was not on her side, and the game begins for the young woman without an idea of what to expect from that moment on.

The film begins during the culmination of the initiation game when young Daniel, Alex’s brother, instead of letting a man hide, screams out to let everyone know about his presence. The next minute, the man whose name we do not know, dies from an arrow shot through an arbalest, leaving Daniel shaken to the core. That opening sequence is an important piece that helps us understand who Daniel (Adam Brody) is and what we should expect from him if he finds Grace asking for help not to get killed by his insane family. As the card shows us thirty years later, this is when we meet Grace and Alex waiting for their big moment.

It becomes obvious that Grace is not welcome in the family of the Le Domas’ who considers themselves belonging to a whole different level. Whether it is Becky (Andie MacDowell), Alex’s mother, Tony (Henry Czerny), his father, Emilie (Melanie Scrofano), Charity (Elyse Levesque), or Helene (Nicky Guadagni), they all treat her as an unworthy human being they can’t wait to get rid of. By that time, we are not aware of their plan, but when Tony asks Alex, “What if she pulls out that card, will you be ready to do what is necessary?” the question brings us closer to understand the Le Domas family and their clear intentions.

Co-written by Guy Busick and Ryan Murphy, directed by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett, “Ready or Not” is one of the most unexpectedly entertaining horror thrillers of 2019 which you will enjoy from the start till the end. Its dark cinematography, location, and the enormous house picked for the film is the right one to capture the insanity this film is ready to unleash on us which sensitive viewers, no matter how hard we may try, will barely escape it unscathed. The entire film is like a dark comedy – it is funny but you still won’t laugh; it is scary but you will hold it till the end; you will be worried for Grace all the time but after learning about her, following her path, you will grow more confident that this woman knows how to stand for herself. As for the rich, there is no doubt that despite having that much money, some still do not know how to spend it other than playing violent games as the only way to entertain themselves.

Overall, “Ready or Not” is an exceptional film that deserves a bigger and diverse audience. Indeed, it has lots of bloody and close-up killing scenes, but given its concept, all of these were important to unfold the story in the exact same pattern for us to not lose track of events that are about to occur. As for the performances, there were no surprises – it was flawless as expected. As for the storyline, there’s a lot we can learn from this story, and one of them is – don’t get married until you learn everything about the family that’s about to become yours. Do your due diligence and hope for the best because, in Grace’s case, there were tough decisions for her to make throughout the film, even though they seemed so easy in the beginning.

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