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Would You Rather (2012) Film Review

Would You Rather (2012) Film Review

Would You Rather (2012)

Starring Brittany Snow, Jeffrey Combs and Sasha Grey. Directed by David Guy Levy

In a bid to help her sick brother, a desperate young woman (Brittany Snow) attends a dinner party hosted by a wealthy aristocrat (Jeffrey Combs). The party culminates with a game against other down-on-their-luck attendees in a winner take all version of the children’s game, would you rather?

Would You Rather Jeffrey Combs

Slotting into the pejoratively named sub-genre of torture porn, Would You Rather? is a formulaic, predictable and overall tepid entry into an already vastly overcrowded subgenre. While it is quite safe to say that part of the appeal for this particular type of movie is a morbid curiosity of portrayed barbarity Would You Rather? offers very little to separate it from its peers. Like so many bandwagon-jumpers, Would You Rather? is what happens when a filmmaker sees a quick profit to be made from someone else’s accomplishments.

Would You Rather 2012 Sasha Grey

The premise is interesting enough; how far would you go to save someone you love? Much like the genre, it is an overdone premise but at least this movie approaches the subject somewhat differently. We see mostly well-meaning people slowly face the harsh reality that brutality is not merely the only way to get what they want but indeed to survive at all. These are hapless pawns, subject to the whims of a madman who seems all too keen to break his own rules when it suits his sadistic urges. Things and rules change over the course of the evening’s sickening events and thus the level of violence and callousness is slowly elevated.

Would You Rather Brittany Snow

Yet overall the movie falls rather flat. Everything is predictable, from the supposedly shocking swerve ending (both of them) to the various events that precede them. The fact that only Brittany Snow’s character is fleshed out in any sense of the term is a massive indicator of how the movie will pan out. That in itself removes much of the potential for tension that could be drawn from the movie. Yes, you can make the argument that the central character doesn’t know these people either but the film is not limited to her perspective. We see things she could not possibly know.

Would You Rather 2012

It isn’t entirely a bad film though. Jeffrey Combs is, frankly, fantastic as the charismatic yet utterly insane antagonist. The iconic horror showman displays an incredible amount of acting range, bringing a humanity to such an inhuman character. Brittany Snow performs quite well, although without the same amount of depth as Coombs. Various familiar faces such as Eddie Steeples (My Name is Earl), John Heard (numerous films and TV shows since forever), Enver Gjokaj (Dollhouse) and even ex-porn actress Sasha Grey (not going to go through her filmography right now) succeed in ensuring you simply can’t criticise this one for its acting.

Would You Rather (2012)

The truth is that there isn’t a whole lot to say about this film. For many it will likely lie in the “better than I thought it would be” category of film but that would be ignoring so much missed potential. And, let’s face it, Zombie Strippers lies in that very same category so it is hardly an accomplishment. Unfortunately, the current trend in exploitation movies is to bring elaborate set-pieces for gratuitous violence to basic and straightforward stories. The violence in this film is quite tame compared to other films, although with stabbings, shootings, eyeball torture, attempted rape, drowning and electrocutions it is far from family-friendly. However, in spite of all of this, there is nothing shocking about the movie and that is where the problem lies.

Would You Rather Brittany Snow Sasha Grey

Given the credible amount of acting talent that has been assembled for this production it is somewhat unfortunate that it has all been so tragically wasted. A few minor improvements could have significantly enhanced the dramatic tension and converted the film from ninety minutes of “Yeah, I was expecting that” to ninety minutes of “Holy balls!”

Would You Rather 2012 Horror Movie

We don’t necessarily want everything to turn into Game of Thrones but writer Steffen Schlachtenhaufen and director David Guy Levy could learn a thing or two from George RR Martin’s work and in the future consider throwing a few surprises in along the way because the simple fact is audiences have seen this type of thing one too many times before.

Please note: This review has previously appeared on CultReviews.com.

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