‘Choose or Die’ - Movie Review

Story posted May 1, 2022 in Arts & Entertainment by Evan Smith.

“Choose or Die” is a Netflix original movie that feels like a throwback to the 1990’s

This feeling does not come from the setting of the film. The movie is written as a technological horror film from that era, utilizing modern day advancements in the plot.

The film clearly takes inspiration from these old school films, utilizing the classic “chasing” template used in many horror films, with the idea being the game appears wherever Kayla is.

While the concept at hand is an interesting one and the story of the film provides some engagement, director Toby Meakins failed to include the visual distinctness needed to stand out in the technofilm field.

The graphics used to portray the visual horror is stereotypical green text on a black screen. While this serves the plot, it never truly evolves or inflicts fear in the viewer. This continues with the actual horror territories throughout the film feeling low budget and not accurately portraying the fear felt by the characters.

Meakins has a small directing history, consisting of middling action and horror films. That legacy continues with “Choose or Die,” as it will not be remembered as an emergent film for the director.

The cast of “Choose or Die” combined to be a mixed bag of quality. The best spot of the movie came in the form of a cameo from Robert Englund, who played Freddy Krueger in the “A Nightmare on Elm Street” series. While the moment was good, it goes to show that the rest of the cast got shown up by a guest spot.

The leads in the film are Iola Evans as Kayla and Asa Butterfield as Isaac. Evans portrays a heroine that holds a tough skin due to her rough home life. She does a good job with her task but didn’t achieve anything above ordinary in the role.

Butterfield aptly portrayed the fun-loving, 90’s geek turned video game producer role in classic form. His character receives depth during his scenes beside Evans, showing Butterfield’s versatility.

The opening shows a father locked in a room playing a retro video game while his family struggles without him. At the end of a round he is left with an ultimatum, resulting in his son’s tongue getting cut off by his wife. This horror continues until he fails.

Kayla, who is a struggling college student facing mounting debt, discovers the game and its unclaimed cash prize. As she plays, she realizes the game warps to the world around her, resulting in choices that will affect her real life. She is faced with ultimatums that will cost her property and family, but continues playing.

She eventually asks her friend, Isaac, for advice on the game, leading to him being sucked into the world. The world begins warping around the game, with worlds appearing before the characters’ eyes.

The ending of the film leaves an unsatisfied taste as it fails to provide a resolution to the story. It feels like they cut off the film in order to leave room for a sequel, even though this film does not deserve that honor.

While “Choose or Die” was average throughout, lacking in the visuals to compensate for an interesting concept, the ending of the film immediately removes any replay value that may have been built up.

Rating: 2/5

Evan Smith is a first-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email ers5828@psu.edu.