A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The movie hopes to say something about rich vs. poor and good vs. evil, but the messages aren't clear enough to make much of an impact.
Positive Role Models
Grace is plucky, clearly meant to serve as role model, but viewers don't see enough of her background to truly understand her. Focus here is on action, not characterization, so we never get to know characters on a deep level, but at least two are somewhat humanized: Emilie and her hapless husband, Fitch. Uncomfortably, the movie asks viewers to laugh at death of three identically dressed maids who barely have any lines, which seems like a punch-down move for a movie about rich vs. poor.
Violence & Scariness
Wall-to-wall shocking, gory violence. Characters are crushed by a dumbwaiter, shot by arrows, bludgeoned with guns and tea kettles, strangled, shot in the face; they die spitting and choking on dark blood, with terrible gurgling noises. Violence is frequently given a comic spin -- e.g., when a character accidentally shoots another with a crossbow, the family upbraids her for being a klutz, not for taking a human life. Small children die and are involved in violence, too; at one point, a young boy shoots another character bloodily and is knocked out by a punch. Dead bodies are seen in extended scenes; the camera lingers on a severed head as characters exchange light banter, unaffected.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Characters kiss; at one point, a newly married couple kisses intensely in bed, after which one tells the other to "take your pants off."
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Frequent use of strong language, including "f--k," "s--t," "motherf----r," "a--hole," "bitch," "ass," and "goddamn." A man calls his wife a "gold-digging whore."
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Products & Purchases
Characters use YouTube. The trappings of wealth -- high fences, a large elegant house, expensive cars -- are a shorthand for moral decay in this movie.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Characters smoke cigarettes frequently and showily through the movie, including the final scene (which appears to be an homage to the end of Heathers, in which Veronica smokes calmly in front of an apocalyptic scene). A character who's presented as flighty and unintelligent takes unnamed pills from a prescription bottle and snorts white powder, which gets all over her face.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Ready or Not is a comedy-horror movie with extremely graphic violence. Characters are dispatched in many ways (bludgeoned, shot, crushed) and die with spurting, pooling blood and gurgling in agony and terror -- all of which the movie plays for laughs. Many deaths are presented as comic or unimportant: Some characters die just after doing something that the movie views as bad, for example, and others who've had no lines are dispatched bloodily, after which survivors argue about who has to clean up the "mess." Small children participate in the violence; some are killed in over-the-top bloody scenes. Dead bodies are shown at length, including a long look at a severed head during a comic argument. Several characters smoke prominently, including a scene in which the main character smokes calmly in front of an apocalyptic scene. Other characters drink and act sloppy and hostile, snort white powder, and take unnamed pills and seem manic and out of it. Sex is confined to a mention of a couple's "boneathon" and a scene in which they kiss fully clothed and one tells the other to "take off your pants" (he doesn't). Frequent language includes "f--k," "motherf----r," "bitch," "a--hole," and more. This movie obviously intends to make points about power and wealth, but the messages are muddled. Samara Weaving stars. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Coming off like a mash-up between The Purge and Clue, this stalk-and-slash thriller swings and misses at pointed social commentary, but it's bloody good fun anyway. There's a lot to love here, starting with Ready or Not's visual look: The camera stalks polished wood hallways and finds the creepy shadows and hollows in every face except Grace's. She's lit with a golden glow that's no doubt meant to point up how good she is -- how very, very good, particularly when compared with her evil new in-laws. The cast is the other five-star aspect of Ready or Not, from Weaving's easy charm and relatable bad-assery to Andie MacDowell's sweet-and-sour matriarch to, most particularly, Nicky Guadagni's breakout performance as Aunt Helene, who glowers like no glowerer has ever glowered on film.
Kristian Bruun (we'll save you the search -- you recognize him from Orphan Black and The Handmaid's Tale) is good, too, as Grace's bumbling new brother-in-law; two of the film's most inspired gags are his, as he casually plays with his phone during the family's long night. (Where else would one turn to other than YouTube to learn how to operate an antique crossbow?) But ultimately, the movie's messages about "the one percent" don't land. About the most biting barb it can muster is "F--king rich people!" And it's probably supposed to be funny that the house's domestic help, including a trio of identically dressed maids in five-inch heels, suffers along with the Le Domases. But having working people bite the dust along with the idle rich muddles the point, and it's disconcerting that the movie seems to save most of its goriest violence for female characters. In short, as a better-than-average thriller, Ready or Not deserves a look. But though it clearly longs for the same relevance, it's no Get Out. It's a snack, not a meal, so don't go in too hungry.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.