Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Would You Rather - Review - @BrandonCSites

Would You Rather (2012) *1/2
D: David Guy Levy
C: Brittany Snow, Jeffrey Combs, Jonny Coyne, Lawrence Gilliard Jr., Enver Gjokaj, Sasha Grey, John Heard, Charlie Hofheimer, Logan Miller, Robin Taylor, June Squibb 
Plot Synopsis: Desperate to help her ailing brother, a young woman unknowingly agrees to compete in a deadly game of "Would You Rather," hosted by a sadistic aristocrat. 

Review: Within the first 25 or so minutes, Would You Rather makes some key observations. In a scene that plays out over the opening credits, we are introduced to the character of Iris, played by Brittney Snow. She's interviewing for a hostess position at a restaurant, a position that is beneath her education. Anyone that's ever been unemployed during the recession can relate to this scene, of having to look dutifully for a job, hoping to get something, anything even if it is a menial job.

In another scene, Iris is seen talking to her ill brother, who is in desperate need of a bone marrow transplant. Since he's ill and is causing Iris to NOT live the life that she could be living due to his illness, he feels it's his duty to die. There's a power to this scene, as well as a little bit of commentary as to how the sick feel like they should give up in our society, because they are inconveniencing others.

Another scene I found intriguing was one in which the character of Iris is propositioned to take part in a game by philanthropist Shepard Lambrick (Jeffrey Combs). He promises Iris that is she wins this so called game that he'll provide the necessary means for which her brother can receive the transplant he so desperately needs. Iris knows that something is aloof about this scenario, but goes through with it against her better judgement, because of her overall predicament. I found myself relating to this scene, because I think we have all made decisions that we knew were wrong at the time that we were making them, but we do it anyway.

This leads to the overall scenario in which a group of characters are gathered at a mansion with the promise that if they win a contest, that they'll be given enough money to wipe out whatever difficulties that they face in life. During the first round of this contest, this so called game, the characters are either forced to electrocute themselves or each other. Immediately then, I got two points that the film was trying to make. (1.) Money can cause people to make great sacrifices or to partake in great evil. (2.) Money isn't necessarily the answer for life's problems.

In the following scene, a  war veteran is beaten over and over and over again. This scene is particularly painful to watch. As a critic and as a horror fan, I'm not against violence as long as the violence being displayed is in service of the story and serves a legitimate purpose. However, since the film has already established it's point early on in regards to the effect that money can have on people, all that's left is for the various characters to either torture each other or themselves until there's only one person standing. 

In a way, since we are watching this torture, we (as a viewer) are being tortured as well. I found this aspect of the film rather despicable, but then out of nowhere, I felt a little bit sad and bewildered. Here's a film that starts out well with something to say, but then it reduces itself to one pointless scene of torture after another. Whatever good will that was established is cancelled out by sadism & suffering.

As a critic, I try to sit through a film till the very end, even if I know that things aren't going to turn out well. I do this so that I can write a review that fully captures my feelings about the film as a complete whole. As a viewer, you can end this empty charade of torture masking itself as a movie by simply hitting the stop button and ejecting this film from your DVD player. [Not Rated] 95 mins.

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1 comment:

  1. You missed the whole point about how human nature is exposed in the different decisions they have to make (the 'money' part is only the reason why decide to go for dinner, nothing to do with the decisions they make during the game). And I love the end of the film ;)