In horror-thriller, Choose or Die, would-be computer coder, Kayla, comes across an old computer game from the 1980s, called Curs>r. The game is housed within a cassette tape, and promises a prize to whoever can complete the story.
After loading it up, Kayla discovers that Curs>r is a text-based ‘choose your own adventure’ story, which presents her with a series of questions. There are always two questions to choose from, keeping the options simple.
But the questions Kayla is asked have consequences, and whatever option she chooses, something terrible happens in the real world. Although Kayla does not wish to hurt anyone, the game informs her that unless she continues playing, she will die.
Over the next few days, Kayla is forced to continue playing the game, and is presented with impossible choices as she takes on new levels. Her only way to escape is to learn more about Curs>r’s origins, but even if she uncovers its secrets, can she really find a way to survive the game?
Directed by Toby Meakins, Choose or Die stars Lola Evans, Asa Butterfield, Eddie Marsan, and Robert Englund. The movie is available to stream on Netflix from today, and is a so-so horror flick, which has some good ideas, but it is a movie which feels like it never reaches its potential.
Choose or Die starts off quite promising and the opening act feels very much like something lifted from an episode of The X-Files – a genuine plus point. However, as the story progresses, the movie struggles to get into a decent groove, and all the initial goodwill slowly begins to ebb away.
There are moments where it is clear the film is trying, and doing the best with its limited budget, but unfortunately, the material never really connects. At times everything feels a little too rough around the edges, and it all comes across as a bit low-rent.
It also doesn’t help that the bulk of the movie is slow in places. For a film which runs to a mere 85-minutes in length, Choose or Die takes far too long to get going and then seems to end rather abruptly before it really goes anywhere.
On the plus side, there are a couple of decent set pieces, and the climax in particular includes some creepy imagery. I certainly would have liked the film to lean into this a little more, but it is nice to see some decent ideas bounced around the screen.
And that pretty much sums up this film – it is a picture in which ideas are tossed about for better or worse. Some land, some don’t, and the end result falls somewhere in between.
Not terrible, but certainly not amazing either. On paper it has potential, but I don’t feel like the finished product works as intended.
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