Surprising as it may be to some, horror and comedy have significant commonalities as both genres must possess the same core elements in order to succeed. Both genres rely heavily on buildup and timing, which are essential to achieve their desired effects on audiences, be it evoking terror with a horror film or laughter in response to a comedy.
As such, the hybrid known as the horror comedy has proved its merit many times over. Be it the comedy or the horror that takes the driver’s seat, the two genres often enhance one another when put together, and while calling Ready or Not a horror comedy would be underselling how suspenseful and gory it is, the film nonetheless benefits tremendously from its tongue-in-cheek approach.
Pulling no punches with its visceral approach to horror, the film is a fun, gory watch with a delightfully deranged plot at its core. Being fully aware of how maniacal its premise is, Ready or Not knowingly and joyfully pokes fun at the whodunnit genre and supernatural horrors without becoming a spoof of either as such.
As a whodunnit, since it is everyone in every room with every thinkable weapon against newly-wed protagonist Grace (Samara Weaving), there is not much mystery surrounding the plot in terms of the classic whodunnit structure of figuring out who the main antagonist is, since almost the entire Le Domas family are antagonists. There is, however, an increasing sense of mystery about exactly what is motivating the family’s perverse shenanigans, and as the plot unfolds, it all becomes decidedly more outlandish.
While this works in the films favor, the plot twists are hardly jaw-dropping. Thankfully, the plot is not the main selling point, as the emphasis is rather on creating suspense than trying to dazzle audiences with a clever plot. As the proceedings escalate into increasingly grimmer, gorier territory, the suspense largely maintains its momentum as Grace must manouver an eerie, unfamiliar mansion filled with all the secret passageways, hiding places and shocking discoveries mandatory for such settings.
Delivering a compelling performance, Samara Weaving makes is easy to invest in her character as she goes through seemingly endless ordeals in her fight to stay alive as the bride married into an utterly insane, Rothschild-esque family. Portraying an understandably frantic character, she nonetheless remains relatable and believable. This is largely thanks to the wit woven into her panicked performance, where she continuously verbalizes what the audience is thinking and does the things the audience so often wish horror protagonists would do.
Adam Brody’s trademark sarcasm also proves to be a good fit for the tone of the film, just as the other characters all possess some form of self-awareness. This adds to the comedic quality of the members of the Le Domas family, be it in the form of amusing aloofness, snarky wit or cartoonish expressions of villainy.
As for how blood-soaked it all gets, the gore is gruesome and unpleasant without going overboard and becoming involuntary amusing, and the playful tone of the film further ensures that it is not just gore for the sake of gore. Similarly, the humorous approach to the twisted hunt for the protagonist ensures that Ready or Not avoids devolving into the tiresome territory of torture porn.
While it may be a fairly disposable film in terms of the simplicity of its premise leaving little to be explored on repeat viewings, Ready or Not is nonetheless an amusing romp that will entertain most fans of horror cinema,. A more witty gore fest than most, Ready or Not has decently executed, explicit deaths and injuries, but what truly makes the film worthwhile is its dark humor and the blood-spattered conclusion of the explosive finale.
Verdict: 7 out of 10.