A Brief History
On August 21, 2019, the country will be treated to a great “The Most Dangerous Game” (short story, 1924, film, 1932) themed horror movie when Ready or Not hits the public. If you are not familiar with “The Most Dangerous Game,” you are probably at least familiar with the theme of man hunting man. In the new horror film, Ready or Not, the twist is that a woman is being hunted.
If you liked movies such as Surviving the Game (1994) and Hard Target (1993), Run for the Sun (1956), let alone the several other adaptations of the theme of hunting humans (including some pretty campy productions such as The Perverse Countess, The Woman Hunt, and of course, Slave Girls from Beyond Infinity!) you are surely a candidate for enjoying this latest version of the desperate person on the run from psychopathic killers armed with a variety of weapons. Okay, we will list a few more films of this particular genre if you are interested, including the remake of The Most Dangerous Game (1945), The Pest (1997), and The Eliminator (2004) in which a group of people are being hunted. Sadly, a film set for release in 2019, The Hunt, was put on hold due to the horrific mass shootings that took place in the United States this year.
Getting back to our featured film, Ready or Not gets its name from the children’s game of “Hide’n’Seek.” A filthy rich family in the gaming industry has a tradition of making new members of their family that have just been married into the clan play a game as determined by drawing a card from a mysterious box that a family ancestor got from a mysterious and implicitly evil person. The new groom or bride must play the game the card tells them to on their wedding night. There is no choice. To refuse to play is to die. While most of the “games” are relatively harmless and the new spouse easily survives, the dreaded “Hide’n’Seek” card means the victim has to hide while the rest of the family, armed with a veritable arsenal of different weapons, hunts (seeks?) the hider. Live till dawn and you win the game, or so the victim is told. (We stop with the plot at this point so as to not spoil the movie for you. It is much more entertaining for the audience to keep guessing what will happen next. Some plot twists you will undoubtedly guess correctly, but perhaps not all of them, so watch, guess, and enjoy.)
Despite the gruesome and grisly nature of the hunt, and the gore incorporated in the film, there is plenty of room for some pretty hilarious comic twists and utterances by characters in the film. The audience showed their approval with hearty laughter, and in fact our test audience was wildly enthusiastic about the film, enjoying all 95 minutes of the “black comedy horror film.” Starting with a flashback to 30 years ago, the movie takes us to the present in which Samara Weaving as Grace is preparing to marry into the Le Domas family by marrying Alex (Mark O’Brien) with a rather nice wedding ceremony at the family mansion, complete with quirky and clearly off kilter family members present. Among key players are Adam Brody as Daniel, the brother of Alex, and Andie McDowell as the mother of Alex and Daniel. The cast is excellent! Samara Weaving (currently 27 years old) is not only beautiful, but her sense of comedy and portrayal of determination and resolve are both perfect for the role. (You would not know she is Australian unless you looked up her biography.)
Director Matt Bettinelli-Olpin has a limited resume, but with notable horror movies on it, including V/H/S, Southbound, and Devil’s Due. He obviously has a talent for horror movies. Tyler Gillett co-directed and has previously cooperated with Bettinelli-Olpin on Devil’s Due. With the terrifying theme of the movie and liberal use of excellent special effects, the film is rated R. Parents should use good judgement deciding whether or not bring pre-teens to the film based on their emotional stability, but we think almost any kid of teen years would actually enjoy the film just fine. The movie composite rating site, Rotten Tomatoes, reports a great score of 89% positive reviews from its critics and an equally impressive 88% rating from audiences. We agree!
Ready or not is a fun, entertaining film. Get past the first several minutes of character development and then hold on tight for relentless action, jump scares, laughs, and gore. We strongly recommend the movie and predict you will enjoy it immensely.
Question for students (and subscribers): Which film with the hunting of humans theme is your favorite? Please let us know in the comments section below this article.
Your readership is much appreciated!
For more information, please see…
Connell, Richard. The Most Dangerous Game. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2013.
Kennedy, Kevin. Demons in the Jungle: Or: A Beginner’s Guide to Hunting Humans. Independently published, 2019.
Leyton, Elliott. Hunting Humans: The Rise of the Modern Multiple Murderer. Carroll & Graf, 2003.
The featured image in this article, a scaled-down, low-resolution image of posters of Ready or Not, is used in article intended for educational purposes to provide critical commentary on the film per fair use under the copyright law of the United States.