FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO HAVE YET TO SEE CHOOSE OR DIE, THIS IS A NON-SPOILER REVIEW.
Do you all remember that abysmal 2000s horror flick Stay Alive that starred Sophia Bush and Frankie Muniz, about a killer video game? Well, when I saw the trailer for Netflix’s new movie Choose Or Die, I said to myself… “Okay cool, we’re trying this again. There’s no way possible that it could be as bad as Stay Alive“. Honestly, I was intrigued by what I saw from the promotional materials and was hoping that this plot could lead to something that was, at the very least, schlocky fun. Now, I would never subject myself to watching that aforementioned William Brent Bell travesty again to compare, but I can say that Choose or Die is possibly one of the worst horror films I have seen in a while.
WHAT IS CHOOSE OR DIE ALL ABOUT?
After firing up a lost 80s survival horror game, a young coder unleashes a hidden curse that tears reality apart… Forcing her to make terrifying decisions and fight for her life.
ARE THE CHARACTERS INTERESTING? HOW IS ASA BUTTERFIELD?
I’m going to keep this short and sweet because I could go on all day about what didn’t work in this movie… but, I wouldn’t want to do that to you. Let’s start with the characters, who are so thinly written that they pretty much blend into the background. You can tell that our lead Iola Evans is trying to give it her all, and the writers do attempt to give her some depth with a backstory about her drug-addicted mother and dead brother… but, all of the character development here takes a backseat to the nonsense of this killer video game. But, Sex Education’s Asa Butterfield fares far worse. His character Isaac is uncomfortable, creepy, and comes off as a bit of an incel-type. And the friendship between these two is just plain weird and comes off as forced.
FREDDY KRUEGER IS IN THIS!?
And can we talk about the casting of THE Robert Englund!? The man who gave us one of the most iconic horror characters of all time, in Freddy Krueger!? How could you put this legend in your movie, just to waste him in a nothing role that equates to little more than a punch line? I suppose being able to say that Robert Englund is in your “horror” movie gives you some street cred, but I felt cheated.
DO THE IDEAS COME TOGETHER AT ALL?
I must say that there are some, I guess you could call them, cool ideas… in Choose or Die. Writer Simon Allen certainly had an intriguing concept, but he is not at all able to flesh it out in a way that feels satisfying or makes sense. God forbid this movie to be any longer than the 84 minutes that it is… but, I feel like Choose or Die is just starting to explain its mythology and get to the root of the mystery, and then it’s over. I figured there would be at least 7 or 8 levels to this video game, as each one brings on a new set piece of peril. But, there’s literally only four… and then the boss level. Like, you were really only able to come up with four-set pieces for your entire feature film? It just makes the whole experience feel forgettable, lazy, and incomplete.
IS THE FILM, AT THE VERY LEAST, SCARY?
The worst crime with Choose or Die though is that it is not scary in any way, shape, or form. And it’s definitely not schlocky fun, either. The movie takes itself far too seriously, besides a few moments where I think they might have been trying to be cheeky… but, fail. And rather than earning the jump scares or building tension, director Toby Meakins resorts to blasting these distorted computer sounds throughout his movie to try to keep you on edge, which proves to be nothing more than annoying. And to top it all off, this is just an ugly movie to look at and endure. Putting all of the scenes of self-mutilation aside, I just didn’t enjoy the look or feel of Choose or Die in any way. Even with grim and gruesome movies like Saw and Hostel, you can tell love, care, and effort were put into them… here, none of those things are apparent.
SHOULD YOU SPEND YOUR TIME WATCHING THIS?
As Choose or Die came to a close, I couldn’t help, but wonder if Netflix had been searching the bottom of a bargain bin and found this mess… only to try to repurpose it and stream it for any poor sap searching for a scary movie on their platform. But, I am here to tell you, please don’t be that poor sap… there are great horror films out there that are worth your time and this is not one of them.
Choose or Die is Streaming Now on Netflix.
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