“Choose or Die” (but don’t watch) – movie review – CD-Action

I’m a bit angry with myself because the plot summary in this review’s lead is encouraging. But what to do when the very idea behind “Choose or Die” doesn’t seem particularly stupid. More – the first minutes of the film can arouse considerable expectations of fans of horror movies. The introduction was realized in accordance with the horror rules, it intrigues and keeps you in suspense. The spell is broken only after a while, when the work reveals its true face.

“Choose or die.” Photo: Netflix

These first minutes, which do not fit the whole picture so much (also because of the actors – they will return to the screen only at the end of the picture), probably will not surprise anyone who knows the rules of ordering low-budget films by Netflix. There are rules straight from serial productions: first, a limited budget is allocated for the implementation of a fragment of the work, and only when this is successful, the creators get the green light to shoot the entire film. I have a feeling it was the same this time.

Real torture

“Choose or Die” unfortunately provides evidence that this method is unreliable. Despite the fact that the film is only 85 minutes long, it dragged on mercilessly. Sort of because that it is impossible to like our protagonists and get involved in their fate. The main character, a novice programmer who makes extra money as a cleaner (played by Iola Evans), is a character completely devoid of charisma and bland, and her dark past turns out to be painfully clichéd. The video game producer (whom Asa Butterfield played – much below his abilities) fares no better.

Uninteresting characters are just the tip of the iceberg representing problems with Netflix’s movie. As a horror movie “Choose or Die” is a production that is almost without tension. Except for the aforementioned introduction, the only horror movie scenes with correct techniques are close to the gore sub-genre, so they arouse not so much fear as disgust at the sight of mutilated bodies. It’s a pity, because the idea that some mysterious force enchanted in a computer game forces players to make decisions about the life and death of the people around them does not really seem bad and could be used to create a story that would make the heart beat faster.

Anyway, this lack of tension seems to infect the heroes as well, because more or less in the middle of the screening we have the opportunity to admire one of the more bizarre scenes. Imagine that two days after the game’s first victim crash, and the day after another dramatic event, two protagonists are waiting for the next launch of Curs> ra. What exactly do they do? Well, moments before the program is scheduled to go on, they chat about video games, listen to music and joke, throwing food at each other. Well, any horror movie must give the viewer a moment to breathe, but such carelessness of people in mortal danger is a slight exaggeration.

Choose or die netflix

“Choose or die.” Photo: Netflix

Game over

However, if the creators of horror did not know much about building tension, they had an even smaller concept of the video games that “Choose or Die” revolves around. Conversations devoted to the main characters’ passions reveal a superficial understanding of the matter, and before the end of the film, there will be a hint of reluctance towards people interested in retro topics. But – like the ominously tinged message of “girl power” – this thread pops up out of the blue a few minutes before the end of the work, so it’s hard to tell what the writers meant.

“Choose or die.” Photo: Netflix

Well, if someone is a lover of the history of American cinematography, maybe he will appreciate the fact that Netflix’s film represents nothing but exploitation cinema. This trend, which enjoyed the greatest triumphs in film studies in the 70s and 80s, consisted in adding low-budget productions to every fashionable or temporarily loud phenomenon. So you can treat the stupid and cheap horror game about the old game as a kind of ennoblement, recognition of the cultural importance of electronic entertainment. It is a pity that the result is one of the less potent representatives of this trend.


A low-budget horror movie that tries to stand out by referring to the theme of old video games. Unfortunately, it is easy to sense that its creators are not fans of either games or horror movies.


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