Choose or die is the debut work of Toby Meakins from Netflix. It’s a horror movie with a bit of a good 80s vibe, which might please the true video game fanatics of that era. The plot is based on the terror that a retro game performs on its users. “Curs> r”, designed by a crime genius, was made for the purpose of mistreating people starting the games. By taking players to a surreal world, it throws sentences on their environment. The main character who decided to tame the demon is Kayla, a young girl with a difficult past. Isaac became her companion and admirer – a programmer with great ambitions, played by a well-known Sex Education Asa Butterfield. Together, they try to figure out how the devil’s game was constructed and what might hold back its nature.
The idea of devastating entertainment that is all-encompassing and with true ruthlessness rules the fate of mere mortals was really good. Imagining the destructive virus in the form of a video cassette, we can expect a decent dose of horror from Netflix’s production. Unfortunately, the horror movie did not live up to even the most down-to-earth expectations. The whole thing was quite bland and despite the fact that the creators tried to frighten the viewer, they got the opposite effect. Elements that were supposed to scare you at times embarrassed, and the main theme of the curse carrying terror, on which the nightmare of the 1980s should be built, was lost as the plot unfolded. The demonic video game ceases to frighten with each subsequent minute, as the levels that appear one after another become boring, even predictable. You can blindly assume who will be the victim next, and the final boss fight, instead of being the darkest and strongest point in the story, is mediocre and not captivating. Gushing blood, loud screams and recurring pressure on the psyche of the young protagonist – that’s not all to build a decent horror film.
It started out very interesting and it was actually the introduction that was the best part Choose or die. The filmmakers take viewers to the period before Kayla’s climax, giving a foretaste of the possibilities of the cursed game. A fan of old video games from the 80s, starting his adventure with “Curs> r”, he condemns his family to great suffering. Noteworthy is the impressive pace, and at the same time a sudden jump in tension. Before the fact that it will be an introduction with a bang, the game is already betting its first victim. Such an opening is an excellent invitation to continue experiencing the story, which in practice unfortunately offered greater emotions than the entire horror film. It is a pity that after a great entry into the plot, the fire of delight was quickly put out, changing the direction of the story and destroying the presented initial style. The opening sequence should also be mentioned, as it is just as dark and corresponds perfectly to the original character of the film. In addition, the first stage of the game is defended – a drastic suicide scene in one of the restaurants can evoke two feelings. The episodic role of the woman serving the place will appeal to supporters of strongly macabre scenes. However, people with weaker nerves should skip the moment of cleaning shattered glass on the floor, as it is brutal. In the next levels, the creators resort to abstract solutions, which, combined with an equally imaginary damn game, do not come out well. By creating a giant rat eager to devour its prey, rather than causing alleged terror, it feels as if it was trying to obtain a caricature of a horror film.
How the film is received depends largely on the acting, which unfortunately fared really poor in this case. The existence of most characters does not make any deeper sense, and if it were not for selecting them as “Curs> r” victims, their presentation would be pointless. The main character played by Iole Evans did not make a big impression, so the constructed story had a mediocre effect. The role of As Butterfield was also not captivating. Despite the actor’s best efforts, his hero from an ambitious, big-minded programmer was reduced to chasing a girl for the rest of his stage time. I haven’t seen such an artificial relationship, devoid of chemicals, for a long time. Their numb questions had a very negative effect on the perception of the bond between them. Some dialogues were absurdly unnatural, even at the level of low-flying youth productions. Interestingly, the film featured the iconic Robert Englund, whom we did not see, but only heard. The decisive encounter with the boss was so exaggerated and artificial in reception that it completely destroyed the chance to raise the level of horror. The only shot that was devised and made in a very interesting way is the final blow to the then boss. Water flowing out of the character’s face slightly improved the tone of the production.
The very concept of the film deserves recognition, i.e. how the lives of the players were dominated by the devilish game. The process of creating its code is really interesting and awe-inspiring. Subordinating your own life to the next stages of the game is one of the greatest advantages of the plot. It is a pity that the creators did not use the initial potential and in the end they created a rather cheesy production that is neither frightening nor amusing, but simply discomforting. The emphasis on brutality didn’t add to the feel of the film, and the stiff dialogue only made things worse. I regret that the theme of my brother’s death was not used in a darker context, because it was possible to create a really strong psychological horror movie involving a lost soul. Unfortunately, his tragic death could be ignored as it is just a regular filler for a story hole. There was a lot of this type of “clogging”, which is why Choose or he diesj on average deserves attention.
A gruesome horror Choose or dieas Netflix describes it, it evokes extreme emotions. On the one hand, it is something non-obvious and delights with the very idea of spreading terror. On the other hand, it strongly disappoints with its performance, which I would rather compare to an attempt to drown a school project at the last minute. It certainly has nothing to do with a decent dose of horror. I do not recommend choosing this proposal for spending a spooky evening, unless with the intention of browsing social media during a session, because it can be perfect for such mindless background buzzing. It is worth paying attention to the soundtrack, for which Liam Howlett z The Prodigy, because it turned out to be great and the prolonged time of the slow-motion plot was nicely enjoyed. However, spending almost an hour and a half with a medium-quality video that is also embarrassing rather than scary is completely pointless.
I am currently studying international journalism along with German culture. I am an entertainment lover who, above all, can move. I appreciate deep productions, but also take pleasure in lighter propositions.
Choose or die