Ready or Not ★★★½

The perfect final highlight of a summer that has been pretty consistently relying on the horror and thriller genres to salvage it. The screenplay is, my hand to God, actually terrific: a very clean and elegant piece of machinery, setting up character dynamics and plot points that will pay off later in one of the tidiest, tightest first acts of the year, and then developing in ways that almost always feel driven by the logic of the moment rather than the need of the screenwriter to get all of the chess pieces in place for the (hilariously deadpan) final scenes. It's also pretty well-built as a visual object: I especially dig the weird-ass color grading (which makes the whole film look like a pocketful of corroded pennies), though the editing is choppy and nervous in the way that only late-2010s editing can be.

I don't think I buy that there's much depth here - "the rich are monstrous exploiters" is more the pretext than the purpose - but it's hard to care. This is a terrifically fun, up-tempo comedy-thriller with a surprisingly ambitious amount of gore, some of it exceedingly brutal. Our doe-eyed waif of a hero does not magically gain the stamina of a professional athlete as she gets battered around throughout the film, shall we say. Anyway, it's every bit as much an obvious product of love for the genre as Annabelle Comes Home or Child's Play, and with more going on stylistically. It is very important to me that this becomes a treasured cult classic over the next few years, so I need you all to get on that ASAP.

(Full review at Alternate Ending)