Would You Rather came out a few years ago, and is pretty strange title to randomly show up on my reviews. I mean, I have been pretty consistent doing things from the current year or year before, and rarely two years prior. But Would You Rather came out in 2012, straight up 5 years ago, which is theoretically the end of my always shifting bar for reviews.
And honestly, I watched it because I really wanted to. I needed a psychological horror, and I discovered this one with plenty of actors I knew. I don’t know if this went into theaters, or straight to DVD, or what, but it exists and I really haven’t heard people every talk about it.
So watching it was for an itch. Reviewing it? Well, it was worth talking about. And I am weirded out that the title doesn’t have a question mark. Even though sure, the three words are the beginning of a question and not an entire question, it still feels strange without it.
“Kind of like a dinner with only three courses,” – Rich version of myself.
Iris (Brittany Snow) lives alone with her younger brother, Raleigh (Logan Miller), who also is dying. He needs good insurance and a blood marrow match for a big surgery, or you know, he is going to die. And Iris can’t even get a job to help maybe pay for it. Life sucks. But Iris’ doctor, Dr. Barden (Lawrence Gilliard Jr.), knows something that might help.
You see, there is a rich dude, Shepard Lambrick (Jeffrey Combs) who runs a charitable foundation. They want to invite Iris to a dinner, and afterwards there will be a game. The game will have one winner, and the winner will get what they need monetary wise for everything to be wonderful again. And she is desperate, so she goes without giving her brother the specifics.
Long story short, they have to play a game of Would You Rather. But not only do they have to choose (and have to choose in 15 to 30 seconds), but they have to do the task. And they involve violence, and pain, and have a good chance of killing people. Oh joy. And if they try to back out, they die. Only one winner, and one survivor.
Iris quickly makes two friends in Cal (Eddie Steeples) and Lucas (Enver Gjokaj). The other contestants include Peter (Robb Wells), a gambler from Vegas, Linda (June Squibb), a woman in a wheel chair, Travis (Charlie Hofheimer), an Iraq war vet, Conway (John Heard), a skeptical old man and former alcoholic, and Amy (Sasha Grey), an evil looking hot girl.
Also featuring Bevans (Jonny Coyne), a very skilled manservant, and Julian (Robin Lord Taylor), the sun of Shepard.
This party is poppin’!
I wanted a psychological thriller, and really, I got only a bit of one. The first round was relatively lame, but still, it started off the game immediately with pain. Less on the mind game side, more on the torture side. The second round was…well, also just various torture, with more death potential, and more focused on being mean. The third round there was no subtly, but basically a task for every person that could kill them. And the fourth round had some mind games, thankfully.
What I am getting at is that this film scratched the surface of a good film, but couldn’t really deliver. Too many of the eight people died “outside of the game.” The would you rathers were never really that fun or exciting. The characters themselves excited me a bit, but never enough to fully love the film.
And let me just say that there was a moment that had me somewhat shouting at the screen, because it was going to be terrifying and gross. My wife had to come and check on me to make sure everything was okay, causing me to quickly shout at her to not look, it would be terrible. And then the film didn’t even show the terrible act, it cut away, no CGI or props or anything. It would have been a defining moment.
The film also had a weird subplot with the doctor character, and I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT THE PURPOSE WAS. I might have missed it, but I think it went nowhere. The ending was also pretty predictable.
2 out of 4.