Director: David Guy Levy
Cast: Brittany Snow, June Squibb, Jeffrey Combs, Sasha Grey, John Heard, Logan Miller, Robb Wells
Screenplay: Steffen Schlachtenhaufen
93 mins. Not Rated.
Okay, so I clicked on Would You Rather purely because I expected it to be terrible. Terrible? No, it wasn’t terrible. Good? That remained to be seen.
Iris (Brittany Snow, Pitch Perfect, Prom Night) needs money badly for treatments for her sick brother Raleigh. Out or desperation, she accepts a strange invitation from Shepard Lambrick (Jeffrey Combs, Re-Animator, Night of the Living Dead: Re-Animation) to come to a dinner at his house. At the dinner, Iris takes part in a game with the other eight guests, but as she quickly discovers, this game of Would You Rather escalates rather quickly and no one is allowed to leave until only one player is left standing.
The conceit of the film and the entire setup is rather silly, but I found the enclosed environment to be rather interesting and enjoyable. The game stayed pretty interesting as the film progressed in this character piece. If only the characters were strong enough to be engaging.
Another issue is the fact that the Dr. Barden (Lawrence Gilliard Jr., TV’s The Walking Dead, The Machinist) subplot, where the oncologist who connects Iris with Shepard feels regret for his decision and sets out to save her, was completely wasted and didn’t add anything to the film.
Now, for the ending. I watched the entire film and thought, for the most part, Would You Rather was pretty solid. Then, the ending. I hate this ending. It completely betrays the characters and the way they are developed through the film in the name of shock value. Then, they have a twist that further upsets and doesn’t work at all.
Would You Rather actually works for a bulk of the movie, flawed yes, but it works. The beginning and ending are boring, so the movie evens out at a so-so. It’s worth watching on your Netflix account, so there’s that.
-Kyle A. Goethe