“Choose or Die” is another unoriginal Netflix original


Photo courtesy of Netflix

“Choose or Die” is Netflix’s newest teen horror flick. Despite a high streaming rate, the film is a huge disappointment.

Sydney Lawson, Lifestyle Editor

When will Netflix stop making predictable, mediocre originals? There are so many great Netflix original series and award-worthy films, yet time, streaming space and budget is wasted on films like “Choose or Die.”

The horror film “Choose or Die” follows Kayla (Iola Evans) as she struggles to keep what remains of her family afloat. With her terrible job and her mother mentally spiraling, Kayla seeks out her friend, Isaac (Asa Butterfield), for refuge. At his messy home, she finds a copy of an old video game called “Curs>r,” which promises a hefty cash prize to anyone who can beat it. 

When Kayla loads up the game by herself, however, she is met with an eerie set of choices that have real-world consequences. The game seems to know where she is, what she’s thinking and is able to control the environment around her. If she refuses to play, the consequence is death. Isaac joins her, and the two work together to stop the game from hurting anyone else. 

I hadn’t heard anything about this film or seen any promotional material for it but chose to watch it because it was somehow trending in Netflix’s Top 10. The premise seemed interesting enough, and despite the fact this plot is unoriginal, I figured it could be entertaining, if not groundbreaking.

I was wrong. 

Overall, the movie was confusing, boring and lackluster. 

The acting performances and characterization alone left much to be desired. It’s a shame this was Evans’ debut starring role because she may have shone with better writing and set. Instead, her performance is entirely unmemorable. 

The characters themselves felt really shallow, barely one-dimensional. I did not learn anything about them or have an understanding of their character by the end of the movie. Furthermore, the relationships, especially between Isaac and Kayla, seemed forced. It was almost painful to watch them interact.

Isaac and Kayla play “Curs>r,” a horror game with real-world consequences. (Photo courtesy of Netflix)

The human villains were cheesy and annoying. I wanted to reach through the screen and slap them, not because they were horrible people, but because I just wanted to shut them up. 

Butterfield’s American accent was so bad it was distracting. I think the first half of the film just didn’t receive editing.In the beginning, he slips back into his British accent at least once every line. It wouldn’t bother me so much if it hadn’t been completely unnecessary for him to not be British.The film is British-made and the setting was extremely vague in both time and location.

I’m not sure how I feel about the lack of setting. On one hand, it felt a bit lazy and confusing, making the whole film feel even more unbelievable. On the other hand, it did add to the bleak, mysterious atmosphere the film created, which was one of the few strong points of the film. 

Based on the dramatic music and pacing, there were a couple scenes I assume were intended to be shocks or twists. Instead, these scenes were predictable, underwhelming and outright boring. 

I was bored throughout this entire film. For a horror movie, there was nothing shocking, scary or particularly unsettling. The most intense scenes only slightly caught my attention. 

It felt like goosebumps without the charm. Essentially, the film is just a really shallow, cheesy horror.

The video game inspired special effects were entertaining the first time around but grew boring and outright laughable as they were reused again; and again; and again. I don’t need to watch Butterfield throw up film tape for 3 minutes straight, thank you.

It felt like no genuine effort was put in by anyone who worked on it. Any potential was wasted on cheap horror tropes and recycled ideas.

It’s not really even worth rating because it left no impression on me. I’m going to forget about this film in a week. Don’t be fooled by its spot on Netflix’s Top 10 list. “Choose or Die” isn’t worth your time.