This review is of the edited TV-14 version of the film. All thoughts below should be addressed as such as a review of the unedited version would be more negative
Hide and Seek was always a lot of fun as a kid. The apartment’s not huge or anything but it was still fun finding a place to hide and seeing how long I could last. In a mansion I feel like the game would always take a very long amount of time, especially since you could keep moving around. Turns out that this makes for a very solid film premise. So much so that you forget this is a horror film half the time. I kind of thought of it as a comedy/thriller the whole time and I’d say that’s a complement to the film. This one ended up being better than I would have expected.
The movie starts with Alex getting ready to marry Grace. He’s super rich and so his family make a big deal about the whole thing. None of them seem to like Grace very much but she doesn’t mind. After all, she’s going to be marrying Alex so he’s the only one that matters now and he is super rich too so she’ll have a lot of things to keep her busy. That night there is one last tradition now that the two have been married. Grace just needs to play a little game with the family…hide and seek. The rules are simple. The family will try to murder her at all costs and she just has to survive until Dawn. Easy right?…..
Right away you can tell that this family is absolutely insane. It’s also a premise that’s very bonkers but also exciting. To add a bit more context here, it’s not like they try to murder the bride every time, or else they wouldn’t be such a big family. See, the tradition is that they have to play some kind of game and usually it’s one that is quite harmless like Old Maid. The only game that is life or death is Hide and Seek. Also, it’s a game that the family really doesn’t want to lose. Why? Because if they don’t murder her by Dawn then they will all die as foretold by the prophecy. Grace is initially at a disadvantage because she doesn’t know about these stakes but she quickly finds out the hard way.
Now your first question is probably why Alex didn’t tell her this right? The short answer is because he’s a chump and easily the worst character in the film. The long answer is that he was worried she wouldn’t marry him when she found out how insane this whole thing was and perhaps a small part of him believed the curse that they would all die if he didn’t show up with her. I’m sure the greedy part of him figured that a different game would be chosen and so her life wouldn’t be at risk anyway. In that case I wonder if he ever would have told her, or at leas the would have waited until it actually happened.
As Alex spits out these excuses in short order you can casually throw them all to the side. None of this blocks the fact that he’s an awful person and there’s no excuse for putting Grace in this mess. He looks absolutely dreadful throughout the movie and even if he’s not one of the active participants trying to murder her for most of the movie, he’s still the worst character here. So many excuses and so little time.
Grace does well to keep it together the whole time considering how unexpected this is. It takes her a little while to figure out what’s going on but once she does, Grace proves to be a very resilient fighter. She takes on a lot of injuries, including a particularly painful one with the screw, but keeps on going. By the end she’s nearly lost her voice with how frantic the whole thing has become. She thinks fast at the very ending too and also has a solid last line. Ultimately I don’t think she’ll be considering marriage again anytime soon but this experience will certainly have made her stronger.
The rest of the family are all insane. Don’t let some of their calm attitudes and personalities fool you. They may be joking around but they’re all trying to murder Grace so that means they are just cool about doing this. Not a very good look for them if you think about it. The first one here is Daniel and at least he has a bit more of a conscience than the others. He doesn’t actually want to murder Grace but at the same time he isn’t brave enough to openly go against it. So he just makes sure that he’s useless in the chase which indirectly does buy her some time. By the end I had him as one of the best characters.
He certainly puts in more of an effort than the rest of these guys and deserves some level of credit for that. All of these characters are guilty to an extent just for participating though. Then you have Charity who is the exact opposite of Daniel. She is eagerly doing her best in this hunt because she wants to stay in the family no matter once. She hints that she had a rather rough upbringing and so becoming rich was the best things that happened to her. She is more proactive about this than just about all of the other characters to be honest.
Tony is really one of the ringleaders here as the father. He believes they have to follow the rules absolutely although he does relent to using the security cameras to cheat once it’s been a while. So in that sense he is willing to break the rules once it’s convenient. Becky is a little more sympathetic to Grace’s plight but at the same time she is certainly aiming to murder her so it doesn’t mean much. That’s why to some extent you almost prefer the ones who are openly trying to get Grace because the ones who talk tough about how they feel bad aren’t doing anything about it. It doesn’t make them any better, just worse for being half hearted. Daniel’s really the only exception to this as he actually helps out with his meddling.
Helene is the oldest one here and definitely the most ruthless. She absolutely has no qualms about taking Grace down and even thinks they should get Alex to do it as it’ll help him see the light. It’s quite twisted logic but it shows how far down the rabbit hole she is. Helene definitely is insane by this point. Then you have Fitch who doesn’t even seem to take anything seriously. He is still trying to take Grace down though so he’s the perfect example of a character who seems nice enough but has no problem being a murderer so he’s just as bad as the others. You don’t get any points for acting nice.
Finally Emelie is the klutz of the group. She keeps on murdering other people by mistake even when aiming for Grace. It definitely makes for some humorous scenes. Emelie really has a hard time not murdering people by mistake which could be useful in some contexts but of course it isn’t very handy for the villains here. At least it gives them one weakness.
As a part comedy/parody the film has a whole lot of fun with this premise. After all, it’s just a game for the family and most of them treat it like that. Down to how nonchalant they are about the whole thing and people dying. We see a graveyard filled with bodies so while it’s apparently been a while, it’s still often enough for this to have all accumulated over time. It’s disturbing but also very interesting.
Now even if it is for laughs, the film can be quite violent. Some characters are lucky enough to die quickly while others get stuck in an elevator, get shot by an arrow but keep staying alive, etc. These guys can’t catch a break and Grace took some heavy injuries as I said. I think the tone helps it not feel so bad at times but the movie definitely was not afraid to get violent at times.
The mansion makes for a good backdrop during the hide and seek game. I rather enjoyed it and the place certainly does look fancy. There’s also a very catchy tune that plays when they start the hide and seek game. It helps to set the atmosphere here and when the song plays you know that something’s about to happen. Visually the film is also really impressive as every moment stands out. It just feels very professionally done. The film also has some twists near the end of the movie which should catch you on guard. It’s also possible that you’ll have seen through them but they were executed well either way.
Overall, Ready or Not is surprisingly a good film. The writing is on point and the film really keeps you engaged throughout the whole game of Hide and Seek. Towards the end we get so many “climax” moments that you really don’t know how things are going to end. It’ll keep you guessing that’s for sure and you probably won’t forget the hide and seek song anytime soon. This is the kind of film where a sequel would be different but as part of the parody angle I could see her trying to marry another rich guy and get thrown into a new scenario. Might come off as a bit forced though and I wonder if a sequel could match this one. I feel like the premise would be easy to mess up. Either way, if you don’t mind the violence then I would recommend checking this one out.