Man, what the heck is the movie Ready Or Not all about?? I had never heard of the movie before I walked into it. Ready or Not? No idea. I didn’t know what it was. I actually thought I was mistaking it for Knives Out at first – which I just discussed the other day, but watched in reverse order. And when you see the two promotional posters you’ll see why.
Knives Out is about a detective investigating a regal, wealthy as all get out, family turned inside out by greed and murder. Ready or Not is about a an insanely rich family turned inside out by an insane murder ritual that might happen. One is an investigation. One is the actual act of murder prior to the investigation. Both have ingenious twists, and extremely clever backtracks. The former is an Agatha Christie classic, and the latter is an irreverent, postmodern hash of the standard murder mystery. But be careful, one I would recommend to my grandmother, the other I will only selectively recommend to even my most hardened and jaundiced of friends. So let’s get into it shall we – because this will be a fun one to talk about.
Ready or Not Movie Detailed Explanatory Walkthrough
As the movie starts – it introduces the audience to the non-standard origin story of the Le Domas family. The children, Alex and Daniel, witness the killing of their uncle Charles, on the wedding day of their aunt Helene. Now, jump some 30 years later, and we learn that Alex has made the right choice, and fled the family for years and years. But it is his fiancee Grace (played by Samara Weaving, from Three Billboards) who has asked Alex (played by Mark O’Brien, who was brilliant in Halt and Catch Fire, and also Arrival) to go back home to have their wedding. Why would she do this? Well, she was a foster child, and moved from home to home throughout her childhood. So Alex assents to his fiance’s request.
Immediately after the wedding, the family assembles for a Le Domas tradition. The playing of a random game to welcome the new member of the family. Grace selects the one cursed card, Hide and Seek, that hasn’t been chosen in over 30 years…since Alex was a child.
Well, it would appear, that the family made a deal with a man named Le Bail. In exchange for amassing an amazing fortune, they would be required to play this game initiation whenever a new member of the family is added to their number. And as the game kicks off, Grace still doesn’t know what kind of a “Hide and Seek” game it is. Eventually, Grace witnesses Emilie accidentally killing one of the maids. And it is then that Grace awakens to the reality of the game that the family is playing…either the family must kill her before sunrise, or they will all die. And from here, all manner of hell breaks loose. Some of it funny. Some of it gag-reflex inducing. And most of it out of control.
Eventually she escapes to the barn, where she is attacked by one of the children, Georgie, and narrowly survives being stabbed, shot, and falling into a pit. And it is in the pit that she finds a number of thoroughly decayed dead bodies. Evading capture, and recapture, and re-recapture, Grace keeps doing her very best to escape. Only to be turned on Daniel, whom she thought she could trust. But eventually they all learn that Daniel has poisoned them all during their Satanic Ritual to sacrifice Grace. As everyone is puking wilding, Grace runs for it, finally reunited with Alex. But it is this moment that is one of the most interesting moments of the movie.
Bedraggled, and tattered. She has murdered (accidentally, and also intentionally) more than a few people…including Alex’s mother, Becky Le Domas (played as stiltingly as ever by Andie McDowell – whom you know from Groundhog’s Day and Four Weddings and a Funeral). She backs slowly away from Alex. Has he flipped? Is he helping them? Is he mad that she did absolutely anything she could to stay alive, including killing many in Alex’s family? But Alex grabs her, and takes her back to the family in order to save the day by killing her in the nick of time.
Just as Alex hailed Satan, and was about to stab Grace to death, Alex accidentally stabs Grace in the shoulder instead of in the chest, allowing her to struggle off the table. And that is when the family realizes that dawn has come. And everyone assumes they would spontaneously combust for having screwed up killing her in time. Even after they fail in their charge, and they didn’t die, Helene decides she still must die, but as she goes to strike her dead she explodes. Like a ferocious, bloody, mess of an explosion. And then, one by one, all of the surviving family begins exploding in a similar fashion. All die, save for Alex. Alex begs Grace for forgiveness (get it? Grace? hahah.) but she tells him (with more than a few expletives) that she wants a divorce, and throws the ring at him. At which point…he explodes too.
As the movie winds down, Grace notices Le Bail, in a vision, in his chair, nodding happily in approval. Grace leaves the house, drenched in blood, and she smokes a cigarette as the mansion burns behind her. A policeman asks, in a concerned fashion, what happened, and she responds, “In-laws.”
Thoughts on Ready or Not
Having zero ideas what I was walking into, I was totally shocked with what landed in my lap. But I laughed just as much in this movie as I did in Knives Out. The violence was infinitely more bloody, but the wit of the screenplay wasn’t nearly as tight as Knives Out. In a quirky, and bloody twitchy sort of way, I really enjoyed this movie. Its surprises. Its utter abandonment to the idea. It reminded me of a non-race-laced Get Out. This morality tale was more subdued in its telling than Get Out. But it seemed like it was something of a polemic on the rich and their other-worldliness. It basically was saying that the rich have nothing better to do with their time than to hunt lions, and new in-laws. Huh. Strange. OK. Let’s see where this goes! And see we did.
But the entirety of the film was just a closed-box exercise in survive-at-all- costs violence that has gripped the culture today. Don’t believe me? Look at your kids’ video games (no, stop…that’s not where I’m going) and the most popular game type right now is called Battle Royale. It’s a simple idea. You take 60 (Apex Legends) or 100 (Fortnight) people, and put them in an ever enclosing ring. If you go outside the ring you begin taking lots and lots of damage. So staying in the ring is critical. But, as the ring closes, the teams get pushed tighter and tighter together, and with it the death count goes higher and higher. It’s a survive-at-all-costs sort of game. It’s actually a game type that came from cinema, a movie called Battle Royale. And it was during that movie review that I opined that if I had been forced to play – for real – that I’d jump from a cliff. But that is what is so interesting here. These movies are so marvelously devoid of ethics, we don’t even stop to consider the situation from a real vantage point. Grace (again the name) is being hunted, so OF COURSE we give her moral license to murder anyone coming at her. Duh.
This isn’t the first movie like this that I have covered here at THiNC. Movies that check morality at the door, and go whole hog, on the blood-gruel 7-course meal. The Belko Experiment was literally this movie, but with an authoritarian task master on the office PA. The Circle takes this movie and puts an alien spin on it. Oh, and The Cube does this too. The Exam places the individuals in a fight for a job…no really, a fight to the death sort of fight. And 3%, if International TV shows work for you. (Cough, Hunger Games, cough, cough.)
But I am fine with occasionally checking the moral compass at the door, as long as we are all aware that we are doing it. (Which we aren’t…but whatever.) And we just cheer for the heroine to get her revenge, come what may. But really? The fun in thinking about this movie is, what would you do if you found yourself in a position like this? Because my first thought when the police arrived, was that Grace was going straight to prison for the murder and giblet-esque explosions of her new family. What other conclusion do you come to if you walk in cold onto this scene? Yes, Grace killed everyone, and in a very, very violent way. Don’t believe me? Let’s try this case in the comments. You be the defense attorney, and I will try this case for the state. You don’t stand a chance. Enough of me being a killjoy though. It was a fun movie in spite of the moral depravity of it all.
Edited by: CY