I might be a little late to this party–three years to be exact–but isn’t that what Netflix is for?… to provide me with the stuff I’d be “interested” in watching? Even more so, isn’t that what I’m here for?… to provide you, readers, with an honest critique of a uniquely interesting film you also may not have seen! Would you rather sit here and contemplate what took me so long to watch the film or continue reading?
Very well then, you’re here for the finish line.
What would you do for a million dollars? I can’t speak for everyone, but I know I wouldn’t trust a sketchy millionaire that appeared out of thin air in this David Guy Levy-directed film Would You Rather. And, that is precisely what the group of people including lead actress Brittany Snow, playing “Iris”, did. Of course.
I have an odd affection for low-budget films. Part of me loves to see what the creative in charge can produce on a budget. The other part of me just honestly loves the risk all horror/thriller lovers take when watching any movie within the genre. Let’s face it, if Netflix isn’t giving it at least three full stars, a lot of us are scrolling right passed it.
(Netflix showed me four stars for this film)
While the movie picks up at what seems to be odd timing or almost the middle of Iris’ story, we’re given just enough information to know that she will do anything to provide for her younger brother, who just so happens to be fighting for survival and a bone marrow transplant. Naturally, what desperate and financially unstable big sister wouldn’t do anything to keep their kin alive? That desperateness too easily sets the tone for the rest of the movie, so it’s no surprise that, when a doctor in a lab coat dangles a little wealthy “philanthropist” on a stick in front of Iris, she takes the bait.
I’m still unclear of the relationship this doctor had with “Philanthropist” Shepard Lambrick, played by actor Jeffrey Combs, and it seems as if it was solely written into the script to neatly tie him to Iris… but, hey. Like I said, it’s a low-budget film–you get what you get, and you don’t get upset.
As we get to the meat and potatoes of the film, we realize that Iris isn’t the only person desperate for some cash. While I wish I could have received more meat behind the other character’s stories, you know… to better understand some of the intense choices they decided on, Levy gives us enough potatoes to emotionally attach ourselves, thus justifying the need to keep watching.
Each character is ultimately pushed to their limits. Their morals are tested, and it’s as if Lambrick is intentionally pursuing that for his own private social experiment. After all, what else does a sadistic millionaire do with his free time? As the game continues to the next level, of course, a contestant must be eliminated; the stakes are raised each elimination.
The outcome is a shocking blend of “I knew it” and “what..?!”. It’s almost as if the intentions were to keep you focused on who’s going to win in order to have enough space to subtly slip in the overall moral of the story. It ends abruptly, simultaneously leaving you speechless and wanting more until you realize, it’s just all gone down hill. There’s no need for more, it’s just fucked.
Would You Rather definitely has some similarities to Saw in terms of a power-hungry man in charge forcing the helpless to do as he says; however, it’s infinitely less gory. The camera hardly shows the acts committed and, instead, showcases the aftermath. Quite frankly, it’s still a big gulp to swallow for those that are sensitive to visible pain. It’s a mind-twisting, psychological thriller that’ll have even the most cynical, low-budget hater engulfed with the storyline.
Plus! Who wouldn’t want to see the typically sweet Brittany Snow play a character that gets tortured?