Directed by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett and written by Guy Busick and R. Christopher Murphy, Ready or Not is the story of a newlywed bride whose wedding night ends up being a hunting game where she is being pursued by her new spouse’s family for a satanic ritual. The film is a horror-comedy where a young woman who is supposed to celebrate her nuptials as she forces to defend herself against her new family who are eager to kill her. Starring Samara Weaving, Mark O’Brien, Adam Brody, Henry Czerny, and Andie MacDowell. Ready or Not is a thrilling yet whimsical film from Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett.
The film revolves around the aftermath of a wedding ceremony where the bride meets with her new in-laws as they play a game of hide-and-seek where the bride realizes that she’s the target for a satanic ritual where their survival is at stake. It’s a film with a simple premise where a woman marries a man who hadn’t seen or been with his family for years but is forced to watch his new bride being chased by his family in this twisted game of hide and seek. The film’s screenplay by Guy Busick and R. Christopher Murphy play into this ritual of this family that is famous for creating board games that has given them an empire. Yet, they made a deal with a mysterious figure named Le Bail as it play into people who would enter this family as the bride Grace (Samara Weaving) picks a mysterious card where the game she and her new family will play is hide and seek. What she didn’t expect that it would be a deadly game that the family had been waiting for to fulfill a debt to Le Bail.
The film’s direction by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett does have moments of style yet much of the film takes place in one entire location which is this family’s estate and is told in the span of more than 12 hours where much of it is set at night. Shot on location around areas near Toronto, the film does maintain this air of intrigue of what is at stake for this family as Grace tries to hide from her new family while her husband Alex (Mark O’Brien) does what he can to help her hide but he’s already in trouble due to him being away from the family for years. Bettinelli-Olpin and Gillett do have some unique compositions they create in terms of their approach to suspense and dark humor as there’s some wide shots to establish some of the locations and rooms inside the mansion while much of the direction emphasizes on close-ups and medium shots for reactions and conversations between characters.
The direction also this element of dark humor as it relates to the body count where there are maids and staff at the house who are killed comically often by Alex’s cocaine-addicted sister Emilie (Melanie Scrofano) while there’s a scene where her dim-witted husband Fitch (Kristian Bruun) is watching from his phone in learning how to use a crossbow. It’s among these quirks that keep the film going while also maintaining in what is at stake as well as the fact that there’s already discord among the family as Alex’s older brother Daniel (Adam Brody) would bump into Grace as he’s become jaded by what he has to do as it relates to the film’s opening scene that has him witnessing the same event when he was a kid. The film’s climax relates to the ceremony and Grace’s own discovery of what will happen to her as she knows she has to fight back but also realize that it’s all about the stakes for her new family and the role that she has to play. Overall, Bettinelli-Olpin and Gillett craft an exhilarating and whimsical film about a bride participating in a deadly game of hide-and-seek with her new family who are eager to kill her.
Cinematographer Brett Jutkiewicz does brilliant work with the film’s cinematography as it emphasizes largely on low-key lighting and candle-lights for many of the interior scenes in the mansion as well as the exterior scenes as the usage of stylish low-lighting and flash lights add to the film’s atmosphere. Editor Terel Gibson does excellent work with the editing as it has some style in its rhythmic cuts to play into the suspense and dramas while keeping everything else straightforward. Production designer Andrew M. Stearn and set decorator Mike Leandro do amazing work with the look of the interiors of the rooms and hallways that play into this eerie and odd atmosphere that is the house. Costume designer Avery Plewes does fantastic work with the costumes with everyone wearing suits and glamourous dresses including the bridal gown that Grace wears.
Makeup artist Claudia Gedge and hair stylist Nathan Rival, along with prosthetics effects designer Steve Newburn, do superb work with the look of some of the bodies as well as the wounds that are shown throughout the film. Special effects supervisor Daniel Betti and visual effects supervisor Rickey Verma do terrific work with the effects in some of the action and stunt work with Verma providing a few touches for set-dressing and gore design. Sound designer Adam Stein does incredible work with the sound as it help play into the atmosphere of the locations as well as some of the sparse sounds inside the house. The film’s music by Brian Tyler is wonderful for its low-key orchestral score that help play into the suspense with heavy string arrangements as well as a few upbeat places for its darkly comic tone while its music soundtrack feature some classical music from Richard Wagner, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, and Ludwig Van Beethoven as well as offbeat pieces ranging from old standards to strange renditions of Elvis Presley’s Love Me Tender.
The casting by John Buchan, Jason Knight, and Yesi Ramirez is marvelous as it feature some notable small roles from the trio of Hanneke Talbot, Celine Tsai, and Daniela Barbosa as the maids who wear skinny black dresses, Andrew Anthony as a man killed early in the film, Liam McDonald and Ethan Tavares in their respective roles as Fitch and Emilie’s sons in Georgie and Gabe, John Ralston as the family’s opera-loving butler Stevens, Elana Dunkleman as the young Helene, Kate Ziegler as the young Becky, and Nicky Guadagni as Aunt Helene as the one family member that is eager to kill Grace as she wants to do the task to stay alive by any means necessary. Kristian Bruun is superb as Emilie’s dim-witted husband Fitch who is a bit reluctant to take part in the game but knows what is at stake. Melanie Scrofano is fantastic as Emilie as Daniel and Alex’s sister and Fitch’s wife who is addicted to cocaine as she tries to hunt Grace but often fails by killing someone else in a comical manner. Elyse Levesque is excellent as Daniel’s cold wife Charity who is eager to kill Grace as well as she is someone who really doesn’t give a shit as she just wants to live and be part of the family for money. Henry Czerny is brilliant as the family patriarch Tony Le Domas as the man who organizes the game as well as trying to ensure that everyone follows the rule for their own survival.
Andie MacDowell is amazing as Becky Le Domas as Tony’s wife who is aware of what is at stake though she is sympathetic to what Daniel and Alex are feeling as she does like Grace as there’s a warmth to her character but also a dark sense of humor that makes MacDowell a joy to watch. Mark O’Brien is remarkable as Alex as second eldest brother of the Le Domas family who marries Grace as he tries to protect her while is forced to deal with questions on why he left the family as his father claims that he to carry on the role since his brother is unlikely to do so. Adam Brody is incredible as Daniel as the eldest son as he is someone that is the most reluctant to take part in the game owing to trauma he encountered as a child while being the only other person to help Grace anyway he can. Finally, there’s Samara Weaving in a phenomenal performance as Grace as a new bride who takes part in a game of hide-and-seek unaware that she’s playing the role of a sacrificial lamb where Weaving brings a lot of wit to her role but also someone who is willing to do whatever it takes to survive as it is top-notch performance from her.
Ready or Not is an incredible film from Matt Bettenelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett. Featuring a great ensemble cast, a witty premise, a nice mixture of laughs and terror, and an atmospheric yet eerie setting. The film is a horror-comedy that manages to make a simple game of hide-and-seek and turn into something deadly yet fun. In the end, Ready or Not is a phenomenal film from Matt Bettenelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett.
© thevoid99 2020