Would You Rather follows a long tradition of horror films that take a normal scenario--a party game, an event, a right of passage--and turn it into a blood-soaked nightmare of ever-worsening odds. As evident from the title, Would You Rather is a horror film centered on the party game of the same name. A billionaire invites eight down on their luck people to compete for all the money and resources they need to fix their lives. The catch is that only one person can survive the game without being eliminated, really executed. Screenwriter David Guy Levy does manage to create a lot of suspense and intrigue once the game is in motion. The problem is that he tips his hand too early. We only meet one of the contestants for real before the game begins. The rest are introduced at the party itself. You just know that character is going to be onscreen as long as possible because the audience is already set to root for her. If the film actually started at the dinner party and introduced everyone before the game began, all of the narrative problems would be avoided.
You can only do so much with a horror film that mostly takes place in one room. Would You Rather gets around that by constantly introducing new elements in the room. The first round of the game involves shock treatment, introducing the shifting set dressing as an essential element of the film. By the final round, the walls and floor are covered in plastic, blood, and emptied ammunition shells from the competition. The film also moves at such a quick pace once the party starts that you don't have time to question why or how the room keeps changing.
The triumph of the film is the acting, which is all around excellent. Jeffrey Combs and Robin Taylor give good psychotic villain as the father and son team running the game. Brittany Snow is a strong pure horror lead and Sasha Grey steals the show as a sympathetic antagonist playing the game. The entire cast really sells the more unbelievable elements of the screenplay to the point of almost making one of the worst escape attempts I've ever seen look like a solid plan.
Would You Rather is a quick and twisted horror film sure to satisfy a gore fan's desire for something new and different. Beyond that, the obvious narrative arc and dark sense of humor might turn off all but unseasoned horror fans.
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