We’ve all been there, haven’t we? Hanging out with your friends, having a good time, and–wait, no, I’ve never done that! I don’t have friends, nor do I have a good time. However, I’ve heard, and seen in sitcoms friends playing a game called “Fuck, Chuck, or Marry”. The rules are simple: someone is given three people, and then you have to say which of those three you’d fuck, which you’d chuck (like, off a cliff or something), and which you’d marry. Why am I bringing this up? Well, this movie is a live action version of that game, isn’t it? It’s not? Uh oh. I’ve got some explaining to do! Even if this movie isn’t a live action version of that game, we can all relate to the fun that can be had from talking to people about hypothetical situations you might find yourself in. However, what if someone took that game to dangerous levels? And rather than talking about who you’d marry, it was just, like, awful stuff? Well, continue reading to find out!
I thought this was something I could do to improve brain powers. Apparently there are some negative effects as well. DAMMIT, WOLF-IDIOT!
Desperate to get a bone marrow transplant for her brother, Iris (Brittany Snow) accepts an offer to participate in a “game” being hosted by Shepard Lambrick, played by a tan, mustachioed Jeffrey Combs. Once Iris arrives at the party, she sees a room full of strangers of different backgrounds, from an Iraq war veteran to a recovering alcoholic to, I don’t know, some goth kind of chick or something? The one thing all these strangers have in common is a need for money. Once dinner is served, Shepard offers steak to Iris, and when she says she’s a vegetarian, he offers her $10,000 to take a bite. Next, he offers $50,000 for the alcoholic to drink a large container of Scotch. Now that the guests have an idea of what the game is, Shepard makes them commit to staying, and that’s when the stakes start getting higher, and start getting violent. Starting with the choice of electrocuting themselves or the person next to them, escalating to stabbing, drowning and explosions, the contestants are being eliminated (killed) one by one. The less contestants there are, the more extreme the choices get, until it’s down to Iris and one other contestant. Her final choice is to end the game with no further harm coming to the two or using a gun with one bullet to eliminate the other contestant. Wondering what she decided to do? Well, go see the movie! Or you could ask me about it or something, I just don’t want to give everything away!
Based on her career experiences, I kept expecting Sasha Grey to say she’d choose to do both things, and she’d do them naked, and she’s do them with stuff up her butt.
One of the biggest strengths of Would You Rather is just the fact that it’s called “Would You Rather”. I knew little about this movie going into it, yet from the title alone, I could assume where the movie would be headed. Even if the concept of making someone choose between two hypothetical situations isn’t something original for a movie to explore, the simplicity works in its favor. Rather than a movie that takes those concepts to the extreme, like the Saw franchise and its insanely elaborate death contraptions, Would You Rather focuses more on how much are you willing to put other people through for your own selfish reasons. This simplicity reminded me a lot of something like House on Haunted Hill with its plot of a crazy wealthy person subjecting normal people to extreme situations for his entertainment. Definitely a “B movie” in that respect, but it also gave Jeffrey Combs the opportunity to Vincent Price the shit out of this role. If it wasn’t for him, I’m not sure that spending 75% of a movie in one room would’ve been as entertaining. Brittany Snow was fine as the lead, and the rest of the cast was peppered with people you’d recognize from movies, television shows, or porno videos. Okay, I think Sasha Grey was the only one who has done porn, but I wouldn’t know, I’ve never seen a “porno”. Another strength of the film, especially compared to other films done in this style, is that it wasn’t all that graphic. Granted, the situations that these people find themselves in are pretty intense, but Would You Rather chose to emphasize the tension of having to make that decision, as opposed to focusing on the effects of those decisions. I would also like to point out one of the more clever editing tricks where the film cut from the characters clinking their glasses together, one of the glasses shattering, to Shepard dropping ice cubes into an empty glass. This stands as an example that clearly there was thought put into the movie when it could have been much more “by the books” and generic. If you’re looking for a straightforward horror film with a few twists that’s a throwback to an older, simpler time, or if you’re a big Jeffrey Combs fan, Would You Rather is worth checking out. However, if you have a penchant for something faster paced, maybe with more gore or larger in scale, feel free to skip this one.
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