Ready or Not Film Review

An ode to the “final girl” trope


Photo From IMDB

*Minor Spoilers*

What is a slasher film without its final girl? The final girl trope is part of a long and disturbed history of the horror genre with some very notable names attached to it. Sidney in Scream (1996), Sue in Carrie(1976), and most notoriously Laurie Strode in Halloween (1978) to name a few.  A final girl is known for being the last person standing at the end of a long tortuous road of mayhem, often more intelligent and resourceful than those she is put up against. Ready Or Not, a thriller dark comedy premiering in 2019, is an ode to this trope and has the potential to  change the trajectory of this trope in the best way possible. 


The In-Laws photo from IMBD

Ready Or Not was directed by duo  Tyler Gillett and Matt bettinelli-olpinn who also directed Scream 5 together.  The screenplay was done by Guy Busick who also worked on Scream 5  and Ryan Murphy who is known for other creepy things like Ratched, American Horror Story, Dahmer and more.  The film follows Grace (Samara Weaving) who just got married to Alex (Mark O’Brien) whose family has a luxurious estate and is obnoxiously rich. The night of their wedding, her in-laws coerce her into playing a seemingly innocent game of hide and seek, that turns sinister. This game is part of a long tradition started by their grandfather. When anyone joins the Le Domas family, they must play a game to prove that they “belong.” This family has gotten its fortune from producing all types of board/ card games. At midnight, the new bride or groom must pick a card out of the special box; the box will then “choose” what game the family will play. Most of the time the card will be something simple like Old Maid or Chess, but when the Hide and Seek card is drawn the family must sacrifice the new member before sunrise or they believe that they will be the ones killed.  This is the card Grace got. The movie opens with a flashback scene of a young Alex and his brother Daniel running through the mansion when a wounded man comes and asks them for help. Daniel, the older of the two brothers yells to alert the rest of his family despite the bride’s (his aunt) pleading for them to stop. The rest of the family kill that man (the groom.) This was the last time the family played hide and seek. 

The Good

Grace quickly realizes that this is not just a childish game of Hide and Seek, and is thrown into survival mode.  I admire how Grace’s character is ready to fight for her life in an instant but we can also tell how betrayed she feels by Alex and this new family she was so excited to be a part of. Unlike other movies where the protagonist too quickly accepts their fate,  Grace is still questioning what is happening and why. The way she handles her situation like a real person would, it’s obvious she’s never been trained for anything like this  and although bizarre that makes the situation seem more real. Never do the fight scenes feel choreographed and the deaths are not  drawn out. Samara Weaving the actress who plays Grace, facial expressions are amazing and add so much depth and emotion to every scene. In particular, when Grace is in the kitchen hiding behind the island with the butler on the other side she is trying to load her weapon the quietest way possible, she visible holds her  breath and shakes with fear  and from that expression alone the audience is fighting the panic right along with her. 

The Bad 

While Weaving was great with her reactions, I feel the rest of the cast was just ok. As Grace gets better and better at outsmarting the  Le Domas family people start to disappear.  When the family finds one of their own dead, the reaction is SO lacking. The whole point of this man hunt is to prevent the family from dying, and when one of them does all we get is a few tears and a gasp? Another inconsistency is Daniel’s wife Charity(Elyse Levesque). Out of all the in-laws, Charity is the most excited to play Hide and Seek. When Daniel calls her out on this weird obsession, she simply says that this life is better than the one she was living before. Very mysterious, except we never found out what she meant by that. What was the point of this mysterious line if we were never going to know what she was talking about? Daniel and Alex’s entire relationship is lacking for me. From the beginning we are supposed to believe that they have this super close brotherly bond and would do anything for each other. While Daniel does help Alex out when it really counts, every scene of the two had absolutely no chemistry and nothing about them seems close or like they even care about each other. This could be on the actors or their interactions were just rushed in terms of writing. This really hurts the movie because part of Daniel’s character is that he doesn’t want to hurt Grace because of Alex but it does not seem like him potentially helping Grace would have anything to do with Alex. 

The Great

The other in-law of the family, Fitch (Kristian Bruun) and his wife the youngest of the Le Domas children Emilie (Melanie Scrofano) are one of the best parts of this film. They are very fun characters and add comedy in all the appropriate  moments.  Emilie, who clearly isn’t cut out for this game, harms the wrong person more than once. Her constant whining is funny and it is absurd that her inability to kill people would label her as the family disappointment. Her husband Fitch hides in the bathroom and  watches YouTube videos on how to use an old timey crossbow is so amusing, he is even more lost than his wife.  These two add so much to the film with their comedy and that makes the watch a little more fun.                                                                                                     

My absolute favorite thing about Ready or Not is Grace’s resilience. The way she was quite literally shot down time and time again but  still picks herself up  and continues to fight. She also is mainly independent in this fight. Alex is hidden away so that he cannot help her, and I feel most times in movies like this the final girl is always accompanied by a man until the very end. Grace on the other hand is holding her own from the very beginning and even with the little leeway she is given, I truly believe without that Grace still would have survived. I also like that from the moment she knew the true nature of this game she held Alex accountable for not being honest with her instead of immediately forgiving him, and never showed any of the La Domas family any mercy.  

Final Thoughts 

I liked the pacing of the movie, I never thought it was moving too fast or dragging along. I liked all the individual characters, though I felt their  relationships were dull , and some aspects of the plot was left unexplored. I think Ready or Not is a great add to any of your Halloween watches, my final rating is 7/10.

Ready Or Not Reaction GIF by Fox Searchlight - Find & Share on GIPHY

Image from