Tag Archives: Matt Bettinelli-Olpin

Ready or Not (2019) Review

Time: 95 minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1] Violence, cruelty & offensive language
Cast:
Samara Weaving as Grace Le Domas
Adam Brody as Daniel Le Domas
Mark O’Brien as Alex Le Domas
Henry Czerny as Tony Le Domas
Andie MacDowell as Becky Le Domas
Director: Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, Tyler Gillett

Grace (Samara Weaving) couldn’t be happier after she marries the man of her dreams (Mark O’Brien) at his family’s luxurious estate. There’s just one catch — she must now hide from midnight until dawn while her new in-laws hunt her down with guns, crossbows and other weapons. As Grace desperately tries to survive the night, she soon finds a way to turn the tables on her not-so-lovable relatives.

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A lot of people have been talking about Ready or Not, a low budgeted over the top horror thriller that became a massive hit, grossing over 9 times its budget. Outside of the premise I didn’t really know what to really expect from the movie, but with all the praise that was being thrown at it, I was looking forward to it. Ready or Not turned out to be one of the surprises of the year, a simple but entertaining thriller that works incredibly well for what it is.

Ready or Not is short at 95 minutes long, but it makes the best of that runtime, with a very fast pace that has you entertained from beginning to end. It sets up the scenario, characters and locations quickly, all the while giving off an uneasy vibe and atmosphere before the games really begin. It’s definitely got a wacky premise, with the rich family taking part in ‘weird’ games (and its at least somewhat making a commentary on rich people), thankfully the movie leans in heavily with the craziness and doesn’t take itself too seriously. This is definitely a dark comedy and you aren’t supposed to take it completely seriously, and the vast majority of it, from the insane scenarios to the dialogue, are handled mostly well. The third act also takes an insane turn that I will not spoil, worth seeing for yourself. Ready or Not doesn’t break any new ground in the genre, however it didn’t have to.

Samara Weaving excels as the lead character as the bride who finds herself caught up among her in rich in-laws’ deadly games. Although much of the movie works fine on its own, I can’t imagine it being as good without her great performance here. Her character of Grace goes through a lot, physically, emotionally and mentally, and she expresses a wide range of emotions over the course of the film. She’s capable enough to survive, yet is very vulnerable as she’s struggles to survive against the overwhelming odds. I haven’t seen Weaving in much but she’s definitely an actor to keep an eye on in the coming years. The supporting cast making up the rich family also play their roles well, including Adam Brody, Andie MacDowell, Henry Czerny and others. While not all of the characters are fleshed out as equally as each other, they are given distinct characteristics. So they’re more than just a bunch of random human killers that the main character has to go up against, like many movies of that genre.

Ready or Not is directed by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett, and their work on the movie was pretty good. Now the directing style isn’t any special and is pretty familiar to similar to that of You’re Next and other similar thrillers, but I do like how the movie looks. This is a 6 million dollar budgeted movie and they put that money to very good use here. The entire movie pretty much takes place inside this mansion and it does well keeping you contained there for the entirety of the movie. The kills are brutal and what you’d expect, and they only get more insane as the movie progresses.

Ready or Not isn’t going to redefine the horror genre in any way, but it is a short and simple yet bloody and darkly funny horror thriller that entertains quite well. It knows what kind of movie it is, is stylishly and effectively directed with plenty of thrills, and Samara Weaving’s performance at the centre holding everything together. If you like these types of movies and you want a fun time, definitely give Ready or Not a watch.

V/H/S (2012) Review

Time: 116 Minutes
Age Rating: 79a0443c-3460-4500-922d-308b655c1350[1] Contains horror, violence, sex scenes and offensive language.
Cast:

Tape 56
•Calvin Reeder as Gary
•Lane Hughes as Zak
•Kentucker Audley as Rox
•Adam Wingard as Brad
•Frank Stack as Old Man
•Sarah Byrne as Abbey
•Melissa Boatright as Tabitha
•Simon Barrett as Steve
•Andrew Droz Palermo as Fifth Thug

Amateur Night
•Hannah Fierman as Lily
•Mike Donlan as Shane
•Joe Sykes as Patrick
•Drew Sawyer as Clint
•Jas Sams as Lisa
•Cuthbert Wallace as Toothbrush

Second Honeymoon
•Joe Swanberg as Sam
•Sophia Takal as Stephanie
•Kate Lyn Sheil as Girl

Tuesday the 17th
•Norma C. Quinones as Wendy
•Drew Moerlein as Joey Brenner
•Jeannine Yoder as Samantha
•Jason Yachanin as Spider
•Bryce Burke as The Glitch

The Sick Thing That Happened to Emily When She Was Younger

•Helen Rogers (actress) as Emily
•Daniel Kaufman as James
•Liz Harvey as The New Girl
•Corrie Fitzpatrick as Girl Alien
•Isaiah Hillman as Boy Alien
•Taliyah Hillman as Little Girl Alien

10/31/98
•Chad Villella as Chad
•Matt Bettinelli-Olpin as Matt
•Tyler Gillett as Tyler
•Paul Natonek as Paul
•Nicole Erb as The Girl
•John Walcutt as Cult Leader
•Eric Curtis as Roommate

Director: Adam Wingard (Tape 56), David Bruckner (Amateur Night), Ti West (Second Honeymoon), Glenn McQuaid (Tuesday the 17th), Joe Swanberg (The Sick Thing That Happened to Emily When She Was Younger), Radio Silence (10/31/98)

Hired to steal a rare VHS tape from a remote house, a ragtag band of crooks finds a dead body, old TVs and a lot of cryptic footage.

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This idea sounded dead on arrival, simply because found footage movies have been done to death, nearly all of them nowadays are just retreads of previous better versions, and are just cash grabs. However, this movie is a bit surprising, as it has a lot of variety and is almost experimental. I wouldn’t really call it a great movie overall, a lot of it is hit or miss but it is better than most of the found footage films in recent years.

This movie ties everything together with a main plot of thieves breaking into a house and seeing these tapes. However, you don’t really end up caring that much about this plotline. It doesn’t help that these characters are horrible, uninteresting and unlikable. By the end I didn’t really get why this story was supposedly tying the other tapes together. The best segment was the first tape titled Amateur Night. It also has a clever way of having the camera, with it being in the protagonist’s glasses. On top of that, there seemed to be an actual reason for most of the characters to be unlikable, and it pays off in a great way. The payoff on the whole is great and it does have legitimately intense moments. The 2nd tape, Second Honeymoon was one of the weakest segments, basically it follows a couple. Aside from the ending, there’s nothing that memorable about the segment. The other segments at least had some sense of uneasiness before the payoff, this segment only had one scene before this payoff, and it just isn’t at the level as the others. This movie aside from a couple scenes didn’t have much reason to have the camera. Tuesday the 17th follows a group of friends going to the forest. It had some good aspects to it, it was rather creative with the payoff but the characters were insufferable. The Sick Thing That Happened to Emily When She was Younger is a bit different from the others but once you see everything, it works well. It’s done through skype calls between two people and while I wouldn’t say that its scary, it was well done. The last clip is 10/31/98, which involves a group of friends on Halloween going into an ‘odd’ house. While it was fun, it wasn’t really a great segment.

The acting is incredibly hit or miss. Some were fine, others were awful, though I have a feeling that a lot of that has to do with the writing. Most the characters are incredibly annoying or unlikable. There are some good performances in here though. In Amateur Night Hannah Fierman is great in her role, without giving too much away she does well at being socially awkward, creepy but yet manages to infuse sympathy into her performance. And in The Sick Thing that Happened to Emily When She was Younger, the two lead actors (Helen Rogers and Daniel Kaufman) were really good in their roles.

As for the direction, each of the 6 segments has its own director, all of them are at least okay, the direction of the clips weren’t really the source of my problems with some of them. As I said, some of the found footage aspects made sense within the story, but for others, not so much.

VHS is a bit of a mixed bag honestly. Most of the characters are horrible, the plots follow a lot of clichés and most of them aren’t all that great. However, if you are a fan of horror and you are curious enough, I’d suggest giving it a watch. It’s not all great but it is a little fun. It’s at least good enough for me to willing give the sequel a try, maybe it might be better overall.