Comparisons immediately emerge with this digestible Netflix horror thriller centered on a cursed video game.
Choose or Die asks its protagonists to choose between two dangerous choices in the real world, with neither more appealing than the other. But in this non-interactive film, we’re not the ones clicking on our remotes and choosing our own adventure.
Kayla and Isaac are unlucky gamers who dusted off the old ’80s video game CURS>R (didn’t they learn anything from Jumanji?) The game torments them with a series of deadly levels, putting their families on the line. and includes people and objects in its immediate vicinity.
Such bloody games have been played on screen before – 2016’s Nerve had its younger contestants playing a riskier version of Truth or Dare for Cash. Choose or Die goes down a more supernatural route, and its heroes aren’t necessarily out of money. They both want something different, and that’s what makes Choose or Die a little more refreshing.
Asa Butterfield provides charming comic relief as game programmer Isaac, who apparently Iola Evans is in love with Kayla. He brings out enough sex education weirdness to make lines like “It’s a date” earns a sigh with a smile.
Kayla is the main focus of the film, a keyboard refurbisher by day, cleaner by night. Her mother is out of action, grieving a lost child: Kayla’s younger brother, whose death briefly gives Kayla an emotional barrier to jump through during the game Choose or Die.
We follow Kayla and Isaac down a straight rabbit hole of mystery until about two-thirds of the way down you’ll find most of the squeamish moments in the movie. Forcing a woman to eat a glass is an example of this. It’s wince-worthy, but choose or die is never bloody, which can suit a wide range of tastes.
The main point-scorers for Choose or Die are its ’80s references and retro video game nostalgia. Isaac listens to the fad gadgets on his Walkman and lives in a gaming shack, surrounded by shelves of cartridges and secondhand consoles. Yes, he was asking for video games to curse her.
The final destination of Choose or Die has no meaning, bringing in supernatural elements and a strange message about life being the real curse. Still, the flick has tense, gripping moments, and the video game concept never fails to be an addictive, gripping draw.
A straight-up spooky mystery with a few tricks up its sleeve, Choose or Die’s nostalgia factor and engaging leads will ensure you make it through to the unnerving ending.
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