Saturday 24 August 2013

Review: Would You Rather

World of Blackout Catch-up Review

Would You Rather Poster

Would You Rather
Cert: tbc / 93 mins / Dir. David Guy Levy

2012's Would You Rather
*1 is a compact 93 minute horror/thriller that plays out like a cross between James Wan's Saw and Clive Barker's Dread, with a sprinkling of a murder-mystery weekend. Whereas in Agatha Christie's world the guests of a dinner party start murdering each other and are assembled around a dinner table to weed out the perpetrator, in this film they're assembled so they can begin the proceedings…

There's a distinctly indie feeling to the film, partly from the modest (but wisely used) budget and tight-zoom exterior shots, but also from a screenplay clinically divided into three thirty minute acts. The script is clunky for the first third, intriguing for the second, and effectively functional for the third.

Like all the best horror (physical and psychological), the film's real strength lies in its voyeurism and making the audience feel uncomfortably complicit*2 in what they're witnessing. The overall diversity of assembled participants in the film's game is just broad enough to make the tasks they're assigned genuinely tense, even though we've all guessed what 'elimination' entails. The director, David Levy, doesn't linger over the gory details in the way of Hostel, but by focusing on the reaction of the other contestants, the punishments which are meted out are just as severe.

While Would You Rather is definitely one for the horror-crowd, the lack of outright gore might leave some of the hardcore frustrated; although it's not quite as cerebral as it'd like you to think it is. It's a captivating film, and one I'd like to see expanded out to the two-hour mark, if only to flesh out some of the characters whose deaths mean little as we barely get to know them.

Would You Rather is available as a hard copy from Amazon, or digitally from iTunes. If neither of those float your boat, the internet is your oyster.

Oh, and not that I'm an expert or anything, but bleeding out from a stab-wound doesn't happen that quickly, neatly or quietly. And neither does a heart-attack. Just sayin'.

Is the trailer representative of the film?
In a nutshell, yes.

Did I laugh, cry, gasp and sigh when I was supposed to?
Pretty much, yes.

Does it achieve what it sets out to do?
Almost, almost.

Buy, pay to rent, or wait until it's on for free?
Pay to rent if it's your bag, if not avoid altogether.

Will I think less of you if we disagree about how good/bad this film is?

Will I watch it again?
At some point.

Is there a Wilhelm Scream?
There ain't.

And because you won't be happy until I've given it a score...

And my question for YOU is…
I can't be the only one who said "Hey, Crab-man!" at least once during the film, can I?

*1 I watched this on the recommendation of @graygrrrl, who doesn't review anywhere as often as she should, but it's worth it when she does.
*2 Although, like the good viewer I am, I was audibly cheering at least a couple of the stabs. Sue me.

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
• Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.
• This is a 'catch-up' review. I watched this film at home, not at the cinema. I saw the trailer for this at the cinema, and I would have seen the film there too, but they didn't/couldn't show it. So now iTunes, Amazon, Netflix and Blockbuster get to reap the rewards of my local's advance-advertising, and I'm sure they're delighted. Now you may say "oh come on, they can't show everything down there", and that would be a valid point if they didn't do things like running Taken 2 for six weeks. Was it that successful? No, I don't think so. Twilight? Batman? Les Mes? Sure, go for it; if they're pulling the punters in then keep making that money. But Taken 2? I ask you. Anyway, this is essentially a DVD review, but still of a new(ish) film. There. I'm glad that's sorted.
• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

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