Fox Searchlight’s “Ready or Not” follows a young bride as she joins her new husband’s rich, eccentric family in a lethal game of hide and seek. Directed by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett, the film walks the line between horror and humor. To fine-tune and perfect the visuals and audio for the unique tale, production enlisted Deluxe Toronto to provide dailies, final color, audio mixing and nearly 300 visual effects shots.
The film features a dark and broody look that elevates scene tension and laughs alongside the body count. Cinematographer Brett Jutkiewicz worked with Deluxe Toronto Senior Colorist Chris Wallace to create this aesthetic, starting with a horror-centric on set LUT for filming at Toronto’s Casa Loma gothic mansion; the pair then refined the final look with the directors and producers to ensure the appropriate level of detail came through, despite the film predominantly taking place overnight.
Candlelight is the primary source of illumination for much of the film so the team worked to maintain that softness while keeping enough detail to reveal special elements, like rich wood wall paneling or the bride’s sneakers. The film also has an enormous amount of blood, so the team paid careful attention to keep it authentic. “The directors were really great about holding back just enough so that these horrific situations were always believable and supported the comedic moments as well,” shared Wallace.
Wallace completed the first grade of the film in the P3 color space, then used that version to inform the HDR and Rec 709 passes. While most of the scenes in the main house feature a cohesive, candlelit aesthetic, Wallace distinguished spaces through subtle color differences. The kitchen area was given a blue tint, while the barn environment has a green cast. Wallace played up the overall brightness and vibrancy before the deadly game begins to help create visual separation between film’s opening wedding scene, which takes place outdoors during the day, and the gore-filled nighttime action.
“Ready or Not” includes a number of shocking death scenes, many of which were achieved through a combination of special and visual effects. In preparation of the project, Deluxe Toronto creatives analyzed the brief and pulled reference material, then devised practical solutions in partnership with the filmmakers and special effects team to achieve the desired result. On-set VFX Supervisor Wojciech Zielinski worked to ensure that the captured plate footage would provide a solid base for realistic VFX integration. From there, Deluxe Toronto Digital VFX Supervisor Rickey Verma and his team of artists enhanced shots with digital gore and weapons, extended environments and set pieces, and helped create the film’s eye-popping finale.
“It was important that our work didn’t read as magical or cartoonish, so we worked with the filmmakers to shoot elements for key visual effect moments in the film,” said J.P. Giamos, Deluxe Toronto’s VFX Producer for “Ready or Not.” “Tyler was very supportive throughout the VFX process and the collaboration led to some amazing work!”
Deluxe Toronto’s Christian Cooke and Colin McLellan handled the audio mix for “Ready or Not,” with Cooke managing dialogue and music and McLellan focusing on sound FX under the direction of Producer Tripp Vinson. Cooke shared, “The original sound was so level and well done that the final audio came together very quickly. The directors were clear with what they wanted and our role was to keep the audience immersed in the story, which we did through subtle tactics like floating the cool 30s-inspired music cue created by the composer around the room to maintain the atmosphere of suspense. Also, we had a lot of gooey and goopy sounds to integrate alongside the blood as well as some very unique audio for the film’s ending.”
“Ready or Not” opened nationwide on August 21, 2019. For more info about the film, visit: http://www.foxsearchlight.com/readyornot/