Choose or Die, review: a horror that smacks of already seen

Choose or Die, review: a horror that smacks of already seen

Choose or Die, review

Since April 15, actor Asa Butterfield, star of Sex Education, has returned to Netflix as the co-star of a horror that, at least judging by the trailer, seemed to be quite promising. We are talking about Choose or Die, one of the Netflix novelties of April 2022.

Buy a Netflix Gift Card on Amazon, you will choose the amount. Isaac and Kayla (played by Iola Evans) are the protagonists of this thriller-horror focused on the videogame dimension. The two friends, computer experts and aspiring video game programmers, find an old cassette from the 1980s: a PC game capable of trapping anyone who starts the game. Not really new, don't you think? Let's see if this new film, directed by Toby Meakins, actually has an edge or not.

Isaac and Kayla discover the secrets of the game

Choose or Die: a story already seen

Kayla The Meakins film then proceeds with the main plot, the one that revolves around the character of Kayla. After the death of her little brother, her mother lost control of her own life and that of her family. Her daughter, between a low-paying job but dreams of becoming a programmer just like her friend Isaac. Two enthusiasts like them could not miss the mysterious cassette, actually a copy of the original, found by chance. It is she who starts a new game, with unexpected and disastrous effects. The purpose of the two friends? Get to grips with this dangerous video game and discover its mysterious secrets.

Copying too many films

As mentioned, the found cassette from the couple of friends is a copy. Its distribution method is very reminiscent of a cult horror saga: The Ring. Not to mention the challenge itself: the unfortunate poor are forced to make choices that, in one way or another, have fatal consequences for themselves or for someone else, a bit like what happens during Saw's riddles. In short, Choose or Die takes up a very popular topic in the cinema of the 90s and 00s, an idea that by now in 2022 it doesn't work much, unless a film is really an innovation.

The game screen

The final message

One thing that really perplexes is the ending. Beyond the "playful" and survival aspect, and compared to most of its predecessors, this film tries to leave a message. Something even suggests a possible sequel, even if it would be a really risky choice. The desire to discover the mysteries that lie behind this supernatural phenomenon should be combined with the desire to put an end to this process, but something is not right.

The ending, partly taken for granted, communicates a very specific thing that, in reality, it just seems the fruit of a kind of unwarranted sadism. It is not certain that there should be a more ethical morality, but in this case many conditions are missing to legitimize the final choice, especially considering that the narrative fails to fully empathize Kayla, much less with Isaac. Despite the rather tormented life and the sad past of the protagonist, the sentence with which the film ends cannot fail to make us ask "why?".

A horror that is not scary

The first images of the new Netflix film made you think you could witness a truly gruesome thriller-horror. Beyond the lack of originality of the story, from a 2022 film one would expect a job with all the trimmings, with chilling special effects. We can say that Choose or Die has only partially satisfied this wish. Meakins' film is rather raw, not really splatter but still quite explicit and bloodthirsty, at times disturbing.

Another victim of CURS> R R "href =" https: // "> Yet this is not enough. Horror-maniacs tired of seeing only blood, they look for something that can immerse them in history and that can scare them. That "disgusting" horror is no longer acceptable in 2022, we need something more, something that can impress the viewer. Especially in the light of very similar previous films, it must be said that we would be there expect something more, at least from this point of view. Photography tries to make up for this lack: it wants to create the right atmosphere with alienating spaces, dark colors, often on the bright green hue that recalls the game screen. But this is really enough to give life to a horror worthy of being called such? Not really.

What is the strength of Choose or Die?

If Choose or Die is not scary and does not offer a new story, it must be admitted that some elements are not to be underestimated. The sound sector is definitely on the right wavelength, with jarring and gruesome effects. It is as if we could hear the same noises that the protagonists hear in their heads when the game affects reality or when it forces them to make a choice. Some characters can no longer even hear those sounds, as if suffering from post traumatic stress, and it is a bit of the effect intended for us, as if the audience could actually associate those deafening sounds with the worst. Likewise, some visual effects are also noteworthy. Sometimes the characters move exactly like those in a video game, with snappy gestures that manage to unsettle the viewer.

Final comment

Choose or Die turns out to be an unsuccessful experiment, the successor unworthy of an entire thriller-horror tradition typical of the 90s-00s. A film out of focus from different points of view, from the plot to its vain attempt to influence the audience. A work in which the effort made by the artistic sector is perceptible, which unfortunately is not enough to make this work noteworthy.

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