Synopsis: A rich guy takes advantage of people that need financial help by hosting a game at his mansion. He tricks them into playing a dangerous game of would you rather and pretty much everyone dies.
Year released: 2012
Director: David Guy Levy
Rating: Not Terrible
Movie Pitch: “I loved the movies Saw and Clue, but what if we combined them?”
Favorite Death: Probably Travis. He was supposedly a soldier, but we never learn anything about him. He opens his mouth and is an idiot. So the next round of the game gives people the choice to either stab someone or hit him with an African whipping stick three times. They almost all choose to whip him and he passes out and is eliminated from the game. It’s my favorite death because he acts like an idiot and I’m pretty sure he’s not a real soldier. He electrocutes someone else over himself, then passes out and whines about the fact that he’s being punished for being stupid.
Funniest Part: When it’s Peter’s turn to stab someone or hit Travis, he chooses to stab someone because by now, Travis has passed out and he doesn’t think he can handle anymore. So he turns to the old lady in the wheelchair and says “you’re paralyzed anyway, right? So you won’t feel this” then stabs her in the thigh, puncturing her femoral artery through which she slowly starts to bleed out.
What they did right: There was a lot of good in this movie, which is why I gave it such a high rating. I’ll note a few special things that stood out to me though.
There weren’t really any sound effects. This made the actions and reactions to everything seem natural and authentic.
They were really good at introducing characters and repeating their names so you remember them.
And finally, the ending was really amazing. From the last challenge to the very end, the ending of this movie was really well done.
Special effects and lighting: Lighting was good, a bit gloomy, but nothing compared to Last Shift. As for special effects, they did a really tasteful job keeping the gore minimal. Whether this was due to budgetary restrictions or the fact that they were trying to keep the suspense going is still unclear.
As you’ve no doubt noticed, I’ve awarded this movie the highest rating possible. This movie is not horrible and makes me want to keep my eyes after watching it. It had a clearly understood plot that progressed with good pacing throughout the movie. Along with decent acting and a tasteful amount of gore, the film did it’s thing and made relative sense the whole way through
But that’s not what you can here to hear about!
While this movie was watchable, there were some big issues. The first and most important thing is that we don’t learn anything about anyone.
The main chick, Iris, is a big sister to a brother with cancer. Their parent or parents have died in some kind of accident, but we never learn what kind or why they don’t leave any money behind.
We also learn nothing about the participants aside from some brief summary explained to Iris when she arrives at the house. Otherwise, we have no idea why everyone is there and because of that, we have no emotional connection to anyone.
They even throw in some random facts later on about why certain people are there, but it’s too little too late.
The other big thing this movie flops on happens after Iris is stabbed. This is the only physical injury she acquires after electrocuting herself. She gets stabbed deeply and forcefully in the ribs, later shown to be high enough that she could likely have had a lung punctured.
This doesn’t deter her for more than a few minutes in the game. Aside from when it actually happens and when she gets home, we don’t even see the wound, blood, or Iris wince in pain. It’s like they forgot that she got stabbed unless it was relevant to what was currently happening.
With that out of the way, let’s get into what the story is about. Iris is forced to get a job and give up going to school to care for her brother. So, she does what she can, but no one will hire her. She is then approached by a creepy rich dude in a doctor’s office. He tells her she can have everything taken care of including the bone marrow transplant her brother needs, and lots and lots of money. She is initially hesitant but comforted by her brother’s doctor that this guy, Mr. Lambrick, knows what he’s doing.
Once she leaves with Mr. Lambrick’s card in hand, the doctor confides in Mr. Lambrick that he doesn’t think Iris will be a good fit for the game, therefore begging the question WHY WERE YOU SELLING IT SO HARD TO HER 5 MINUTES AGO?
Long story short, she ends up going to the party. There she meets one black man, an old lady in a wheelchair, a recovering alcoholic, a gambler, a fake soldier, and a goth chick with a southern accent. She also meets Lucas, a generic white guy.
Lucas and Iris make the mistake of forming a kind of alliance throughout the movie, they agree not to hurt each other, and that goes well until the end, but I’ll get to that.
Dinner begins and the stage is set for the game when Iris is asked to eat the meat they’ve served for dinner. You know, because she can’t just silently eat the potatoes she has and stay silent. Rather, she has to speak up about the fact that she’s a vegetarian. She’s then persuaded to eat the meat for $10,000 and is promptly laughed at for abandoning her values.
After dinner, the game begins with Bevins, the concierge/servant man rolling out an electrocution device hooked up to a car battery. We learn he’s a former MI5 member, though this has nothing to do with the story except explain why he’s got a fancy gun and a car-battery-electrocution-device just hanging around.
The tasks get progressively more difficult, including stabbing people, drowning people, and slicing open eyeballs with razor blades. We don’t care though because we know nothing about anyone.
Once people start to die, the game gets more interesting. They all realize that death is an actual reality. Then the game goes in, quickly killing the rest until the only two players left are Lucas and Iris (big shocker)
Mr. Lambrick flips a coin to determine who goes first and Iris wins. She’s given the choice to leave the game empty-handed, or kill Lucas.
To be honest, this is my favorite part of the movie. As Lucas is staring her down with his one good eye, trying to convince her not to shoot, she pulls the trigger as he’s mid-sentence and shoots him through the heart. He dies instantly and she’s left to go home, money in hand.
I love that she kills him while he’s bullshitting her. I love that she gets to leave with her money and a donor set up for her brother, and I love that there’s no big cheesy twist.
What I was disappointed most about in this movie came after the game was over and Iris returned home.
There was a part earlier where the participants of the game had tried to escape. Iris was able to get away, but the house was so big she got lost. She’s chased down by the lunatic son of Mr. Lambrick and nearly assaulted. I think. I’m not sure what he was doing, he was making out with her shoulder and sitting on her chest.
Anyway, the crazy son nabs her but is reprimanded instead of her. She gets to return to the game and he’s sent to his room, complaining that she should have been punished.
Once the end of the movie rolled around, I knew Iris’ brother would end up dead, I just didn’t know how. I thought it might be cool if the lunatic son had somehow broken into her house and killed him as revenge for trying to cheat the game, but her brother just overdoses. It was pretty disappointing.
But yeah, like I said, this movie wasn’t really that bad. It had some good things and some bad things, but also a lot of weird things that made no sense.
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