Ready or Not offers more laughs than screams
October 8, 2019
The comedy genre is one of the most malleable movie genres in the industry. Genre hybrids such as James Cameron’s “Alien,” a sci-fi/horror cross, proved to audiences the potential that two similar sub genres can create. However, just as horror is strictly aimed towards a certain mood and tone that usually overlaps the genre that it is being crossed with, comedy also has undertones that tend to overcome genres that it’s mixed with. But this doesn’t mean that a horror comedy duo is an impossible feat. Examples include movies like “Zombieland,” “Shaun of the Dead,” the entire “Evil Dead” franchise, the “Scary Movie” franchise (which is basically a parody of the genre itself), “Beetlejuice,” “Little Shop of Horrors,” “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” and so many other works.
The difference in “Ready or Not,” is that neither the comedy nor the horror elements outweigh each other at any moment in the film. Sure, the comedic moments can offer more laughs than screams at certain moments, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t any suspense to be found. These moments of pure adrenaline rush usually come when the main character, Grace, is in her most vulnerable state, when she’s alone and the satanic cult family is in a frantic spree to figure out where she is.
While the writing and basic framework of the plot, at least in the beginning, gives the audience the impression that “Ready or Not” was going to be your average, day of the mill, slasher movie, the tone radically shifts the moment Grace discovers the true intentions of ‘her’ new family. This is the moment the film really picks up and shows her transition from a meek and nervous bride into a stronger character, who still makes the same stupid mistakes that every horror protagonist makes, but still manages to think and speak the same way the audience would in the same situation.
The film provides a semi-believable backstory as to why the family wants to sacrifice Grace to their leader, the devil, which was a part of a deal the family had made hundreds of years ago in order to guarantee long term prosperity. This motivation is strengthened more so by the quotes of family members, saying they like Grace as a person but her death would in tern be saving the longevity of their survival. This choice humanizes the family into three-dimensional characters who have sympathy to be had. Like any work of fiction, having strong antagonist(s) is just as important as the hero character. A lot of the movie’s appeal hangs on the charming performances of its actors, especially that of its main protagonist, Australian actress Samara Weaving, who has an uncanny resemblance to another Australian actress, Margot Robbie.
Finally, what truly makes “Ready or Not” a film worth remembering as a perfect example of how a horror comedy should operate without becoming clichéd to the point of mediocrity, is the twist that occurs at the very end of the movie. Without spoiling, the bride’s white dress is going to need a real cleaning after the wedding reception.