film reel image

film reel image

Saturday, April 23, 2022

Choose or Die 2022 * * * Stars


A young woman decides to play an 80s video game not knowing that said video game could result in someone getting killed. That's the gist of Choose or Die, a sort of fitting title for a movie about vehement, processing data manipulation. 

Released this month through way of the internet (makes sense), Choose or Die is relegated to the type of film I've seen before (Unfriended: Dark Web comes to mind). Here's the thing: Choose or Die although in the same model, doesn't adhere to all that Skype stuff. It feels less grainy and more straight-laced. I mean we don't always need something where everybody is constantly in Zoom meeting mode. 

Iola Evans plays computer wiz Kayla while Asa Butterfield plays her partner in crime, Issac. They are platonic friends who come together to try to investigate the evilness of a computer playdown capable of extracting someone's tongue (that happens early on, ugh). 

Choose or Die has some pretty creepy moments in the slight vein of anything via the Japanese horror franchise (Ju-On). It also feels neo-noir with some neon hues to boot. Rookie director Toby Meakins (he has only previously done shorts) fashions a fresh genre entry that seems to have been sledgehammered about five years ago. He dirties up the atmosphere and lets his actors inhabit a sort of banal, downtrodden existence. Added to that, there's also a cameo by legend Robert Englund only I don't think we ever see him. Hey at least we're still reminded of the Greed decade again ("It even has his name written in it, Fred Krueger mom"). 

Choose or Die ends in a way in which the old adage of film tells us we can interpret things any way we want. That's what makes this medium so darn fascinating. Does the female protagonist go to the dark side after taking control of the video game and its penchant for causing harm? Possibly. Is Choose or Die so far-fetched that it feels more like a hallucination instead of a veracious reality? Maybe. You as the viewer can "choose".  

Written by Jesse Burleson

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