Would You Rather (2013)
Dir. David Guy Levi
Starring: Brittany Snow, Jeffrey Combs
Would You Rather is a horror thriller that centers around Iris (Snow), a young woman who needs to make some money to take care of her little brother, who is in desperate need of a bone marrow transplant. Iris is approached by Shepard Lambrick (Combs), a sadistic billionaire who promises to take care of her brother if she attends a dinner party and wins a game of Would You Rather.
As most of us know, the game Would You Rather is very simple. It is played by a group of people and, each round, one person is given a choice between “A” and “B.” Typically, neither choice is particularly attractive, but they must choose. Normally, the game ends here. You say which one, everyone laughs or exclaims how you’re gross or sick, then it’s the next person’s turn.
The difference in this movie is that the player must act out their choice. Each choice is timed and refusal or inability to choose is grounds for elimination. There are 8 players in total, each of whom are in desperate need of monetary help. The last person left alive wins.
The director utilizes quick cut scenes to present a sense of urgency to the story. Iris needs to make money quickly, Shep needs an RSVP quickly and each of the decisions in the game must be made quickly. The intended sense of urgency could be seen, but the quick back and forth between past and present made the exposition choppy and confusing.
The best actor in the whole movie is probably Bevans the Butler (Jonathan Coyne), who obviously takes pleasure in being the brawn behind Shep’s brains. Brittany Snow is overdramatic and not believable as a 20-something burdened with sudden overwhelming responsibility. Finally, Jeffrey Combs played the sadistic billionaire quite ineffectively. As someone who is supposed to ooze class as the face of his foundation, he sure has a problem reigning in that quick temper. If you ask me, it would have been better if he delivered his lines in a calm, stone-faced manner. Much scarier. But what can we expect from mainly comedic actors?
The themes of the movie are stated right in the dialogue, which is just lazy writing on the screenwriter’s part. The entire movie is about two things: 1) everyone has a price, and 2) we all have a fascination with the unknown. Both of these things are stated directly by Shep during the game. The characters always explain the reasoning behind each choice, leaving nothing up to the viewer’s imagination. There’s no suspense, there’s no real fear. These are signs of a poorly written story.
All in all, I was not impressed by this movie. There were too many quick cuts, the acting was sub-par and the writing just wasn’t effective. And the ending… I don’t want to spoil it, but the ending was just unnecessary.
Of course, this is just my own opinion. Tell me what you thought of it in the comments.