There are seemingly harmless movies, like this Ready Or Not, but the devil carries them. Do not misunderstand us: that is precisely what makes this comic and horror thriller of Fox Searchlight, the independent studio of the Fox that has now passed into the hands of Disney, something moderately special, able to stand out above the offer of Genre cinema to the delight of the fan understood this only as a mere object of frights and laughter.
It is, therefore, a pity that their directors have only understood those functional aspects and have missed to some extent some of the opportunities offered by this derivation of the Evil Zaroff, in which a rich count hunted shipwrecked on his secluded island, although the result is frankly good.
After the little memorable 'The Heir of the Devil' (2014), this is the second feature of “Radio Silence”, a collective formed by directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett and executive producer Chad Villella (starting here from a screenplay , much better than his first film, written on this occasion by Guy Busick and a Ryan Murphy who is not the Ryan Murphy we all know). ‘Ready Or Not’ is one of those films whose formula, both plot and tonal, does not require the moviegoer with certain armchair hours in their innkeepers or half a glance to be shredded ingredient by ingredient, reference by reference. Watch it online to understand why.
In parts: first take 'The Evil Zaroff' ('Irving Pichel-Ernest B. Schoedsack' (1939), 'Society' (Brian Yuzna, 1989), 'The Purge: The Night of the Beasts' (James Delmonaco, 2013) and 'Let Me Get Out' (Jordan Peele, 2017) - namely, “human hunting + aberrant upper class + gymkhana survival in enclosed spaces with night countdown"-; Add a touch of “board game” to 'A Corpse to Desserts' (Robert Moore, 1976) or 'The Game of Suspicion' (Jonathan Lynn, 1985), plus his little bit of 'You are the next' (Adam Wingard, 2011); and finally put on the bow mask a blonde (Samara Weaving) destined to be confused by the common viewer with Margot Robbie, but that every fatal fan of the most thundered audiovisual will immediately recognize by guilty pleasures like 'The Babysitter' (McG, 2017), or half-ignored jewels such as 'Mayhem' (Joe Lynch, 2017).
All on Ready Or Not, born perhaps because of the success of the famous Let Me Get Out of Jordan Peele but changing the racial for social hierarchies, and with a playful mood. The persecution to which the rich submit to Grace is described as a tradition that serves to show several masks, which we put to ignore that perverse social game understood almost as a superstition impossible to break, but that show the willingness of each one to follow the rules of a system that bases its survival on an invisible threat.
There is one who plays to help the girl; another does not want to be part but does not dare to break the circle; Some participate not to lose their status and others applaud the sacrifice of a helpless exit from an orphanage.
A pity, that said, that the direction of Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett is so extremely poor, at least aesthetically. A cluster of close-ups that highlight the expressiveness of Samara Weaving but hide the suspense and nuances of the stage and do not just compose excessively careful set-pieces.
The good thing is that the film is very entertaining and that the strong points of the script are not tarnished, responsible for turning Ready Or Not into that nice, dignified and competent entertainment that ends up being. Watch it now and you'll see.
The result, adrenaline, playful and always enjoyable, is as well cooked as little subtle stew of concepts and images whose roots in the collective imagination goes beyond the cinematic ("What will those damned freaks do when they meet?").