Reviews - Specialty Releases


Film Review: Would You Rather

This ultra-nasty conceit should satisfy many a genre fan’s inner sadist.

Feb 7, 2013

-By David Noh


filmjournal/photos/stylus/1371278-Would_You_Rather_Md.jpg

For movie details, please click here.

The very title of this film recalls those childhood games in which you’d pose the challenge of choosing between two equally disgusting activities to a playmate in the interests of a general gross-out, and as a way to mindlessly pass the time. Funnily enough, those two interests are what seem to motivate many a filmgoer these days, and Would You Rather is definitely recommended for those so-minded.

To the home of a notoriously rich and generous philanthropist, Sheppard Lambrick (Jeffrey Combs), comes a cadre of disparate souls all in dire need of money. Iris (Brittany Snow), for example, has to come up with the funds for her sick brother’s bone marrow transplant (very “Law & Order”). A nice doctor has recommended that she do this, so what could possibly be the problem?

The problem is there’s a catch, of course, and the catch is that all of Lambrick’s guests are trapped at gunpoint into playing a game of “Would You Rather” that becomes increasingly vicious and violent. It begins piquantly enough with Iris, a vegan, being challenged to eat meat for $10,000, and a former alcoholic (poor John Heard, who’s seen better days) presented with a bottle of Scotch and the reward of $50,000 if he drinks it. But then things get a lot darker very fast, with torture entering into the equation and the hapless assemblage having to decide whether to electrocute, whip, stab, drown or mutilate themselves or someone else.

Thankfully, for faint-hearted souls, and disappointingly, for hard-core gore fiends, these actual acts are presented less graphically than they could be. Throughout David Guy Levy’s tautly done piece of trash I kept flashing on two movies, Pasolini’s Salo (for obvious reasons) and the 1932 The Most Dangerous Game, which posited Leslie Banks as a demonic deserted island overlord bent on making miserable the lives of his captive prey, Joel McCrea and Fay Wray. Banks’ florid eccentricity proved far more riveting than the quivering hero and heroine, and here Combs, with something of the unctuous handsomeness of Edward Albee, also has a sadistically twisted field day. His victims, led by the impossibly bland Snow, are none of them really the type to inspire much audience sympathy, so the film plays out with an intensified nastiness as you watch them suffer. (I, for one, admit to laughing out loud when a tiresome old biddy, played amateurishly by a seeming nonprofessional, got good and zapped, electrically.)


Film Review: Would You Rather

This ultra-nasty conceit should satisfy many a genre fan’s inner sadist.

Feb 7, 2013

-By David Noh


filmjournal/photos/stylus/1371278-Would_You_Rather_Md.jpg

For movie details, please click here.

The very title of this film recalls those childhood games in which you’d pose the challenge of choosing between two equally disgusting activities to a playmate in the interests of a general gross-out, and as a way to mindlessly pass the time. Funnily enough, those two interests are what seem to motivate many a filmgoer these days, and Would You Rather is definitely recommended for those so-minded.

To the home of a notoriously rich and generous philanthropist, Sheppard Lambrick (Jeffrey Combs), comes a cadre of disparate souls all in dire need of money. Iris (Brittany Snow), for example, has to come up with the funds for her sick brother’s bone marrow transplant (very “Law & Order”). A nice doctor has recommended that she do this, so what could possibly be the problem?

The problem is there’s a catch, of course, and the catch is that all of Lambrick’s guests are trapped at gunpoint into playing a game of “Would You Rather” that becomes increasingly vicious and violent. It begins piquantly enough with Iris, a vegan, being challenged to eat meat for $10,000, and a former alcoholic (poor John Heard, who’s seen better days) presented with a bottle of Scotch and the reward of $50,000 if he drinks it. But then things get a lot darker very fast, with torture entering into the equation and the hapless assemblage having to decide whether to electrocute, whip, stab, drown or mutilate themselves or someone else.

Thankfully, for faint-hearted souls, and disappointingly, for hard-core gore fiends, these actual acts are presented less graphically than they could be. Throughout David Guy Levy’s tautly done piece of trash I kept flashing on two movies, Pasolini’s Salo (for obvious reasons) and the 1932 The Most Dangerous Game, which posited Leslie Banks as a demonic deserted island overlord bent on making miserable the lives of his captive prey, Joel McCrea and Fay Wray. Banks’ florid eccentricity proved far more riveting than the quivering hero and heroine, and here Combs, with something of the unctuous handsomeness of Edward Albee, also has a sadistically twisted field day. His victims, led by the impossibly bland Snow, are none of them really the type to inspire much audience sympathy, so the film plays out with an intensified nastiness as you watch them suffer. (I, for one, admit to laughing out loud when a tiresome old biddy, played amateurishly by a seeming nonprofessional, got good and zapped, electrically.)
Post a Comment
Asterisk (*) is a required field.
* Author: 
Rate This Article: (1=Bad, 5=Perfect)

*Comment:
 

More Specialty Releases

Tracks
Film Review: Tracks

Ably supported by Adam Driver, Mia Wasikowska commands the screen in John Curran’s superbly photographed drama based on a true story. More »

Hollidaysburg
Film Review: Hollidaysburg

Well-observed, empathetic look at friends reuniting over their first college break. More »

The Zero Theorem
Film Review: The Zero Theorem

A noisy, hyperkinetic, visually gorgeous spectacle that tackles the mother of all big questions–the meaning of life—Terry Gilliam's latest is sometimes frustrating and occasionally outright goofy, but it's never dull. More »

Art and Craft
Film Review: Art and Craft

Documentary portrait of the artist as a disturbed man, but one who is overwhelmingly endearing, functioning and talented—and whose métier happens to be art forgery. This smartly produced and constructed art-themed art-house entry delivers a canvas of caper, comedy and delightful curiosities that engage and provoke some serious thought. Like the hero’s forgeries, it deserves a close look. More »

ADVERTISEMENT



REVIEWS

The Maze Runner
Film Review: The Maze Runner

Youths try to break out of a deadly maze in the latest young-adult doomsday thriller. More »

This is Where I Leave You
Film Review: This Is Where I Leave You

Siblings bond, fight and face new problems after the death of their father in an ensemble dramedy based on the best-selling novel. More »

Player for the Film Journal International website.


ADVERTISEMENT



INDUSTRY GUIDES

» Blue Sheets
FJI's guide to upcoming movie releases, including films in production and development. Check back weekly for the latest additions.

» Distribution Guide
» Equipment Guide
» Exhibition Guide

ORDER A PRINT SUBSCRIPTION

Film Journal International

Subscribe to the monthly print edition of Film Journal International and get the full visual impact of this valuable resource for the cinema business.

» Click Here

SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES

Learn how to promote your company at the Film Expo Group events: ShowEast, CineEurope, and CineAsia.

» Click Here