Choose or Die follows a young woman and her friend as they discover an old video game that offers big rewards, but with deadly consequences. As the game's violence accelerates, they must discover its origins to attempt to stop it before it kills them both.
[This movie was seen on Netflix at the time of this review.]
Choose or Die Review
I had a rather low bar set for this movie. While Netflix has a lot of gold, like The Ritual, His House, Apostle, The Babysitter, and The Perfection, there are plenty of films that just miss the mark with derivative and boring content. But, this movie also looked like it was going to have a little fun, with Final Destination-esque kills sprinkled throughout. For the most part my expectations rang true, both in good and bad ways.
The movie does play off like a systematic story of "strange kill, solving the mystery, strange kill, solving the mystery...", basically the mold for any modern mainstream scary movie. For some reason I was still engaged and entertained for most of the runtime, as the pace was even and had a proper tempo. The story never felt unique, as the "killer videogame/app" is something we've seen before, and a lot of, lately. Still, it had its moments.
The kills bounced around from gruesome to weird, in particular one scene that felt rather tame given the rest of the film. It felt like a lot of effort was put into a kill that didn't really pan out in my eyes. The climax was a lot of fun, which is probably why I look back on the film fondly.
The film does overall feel predictable, which limits the brain's engagement beyond surface level. There's an attempt to establish substance through the protagonist's traumatic past, but it doesn't impact you as anything more than a trope you see coming as a standard plot device. The scares and kills teeter between above average to average, but mostly settling in the mediocre range.
It's hard to think of what else to say. Maybe I just need more sleep. But to break it down simply: the story isn't fresh, the plot structure is predictable, the acting is pretty good, the scares and kills are okay, the substance isn't really there, and the ending is pretty fun. Take that for what you will. I don't think you'd be frustrated watching it, but you might pull your phone out. You're not missing much if you skip it.
Horror Rating System
Horror Qualifier: 9/10
Horror Quality: 5/10
Film Quality: 5/10