In recent months, IFC Midnight has been churning out some very interesting films for fans of horror. Their latest offering is ‘Would You Rather,’ which is helmed by director David Guy Levy. The film gets it name from the popular parlor game almost all of us have played in our youth. The film centers on Iris (Brittany Snow), whose life is comprised on caring for her sick younger brother after the death of their parents. As she struggle’s to stay afloat financially, she is introduced to a businessman by the name of Shepard Lambrick (Jeffrey Combs). Lambrick heads The Lambrick Foundation, an institution that offers Iris an opportunity to eliminate her family’s financial obstacles, as well as potentially fast-tracking her ailing brother’s transplant surgery. All she has to do is attend a dinner party with several other guests to participate in a game where one winner will have their needs met in whatever way they may need. Skeptical at first, she decides to take a risk and attend the event.
Upon arriving at this dinner party, meets Shepard Lambrick and his son Julian, who assure her the games will soon begin. Iris meets her follow guests, include a bevy of unique personalities played bylikes of John Heard, Sasha Grey, Enver Gjokaj and Eddie Steeples, just to name a few. Within moments, the game is underway and Iris is the first to be singled out as a participate for a challenge. A lifelong vegetarian, she is offered a large sum of money to compromise her principles and scarf down a juicy steak. It does take long for Iris and her fellow guests to realize that something is very off about Shepard Lambrick and his cohorts. As the stakes begin to grow higher, the challenges become more sadistic and quickly turn deadly. After only a few short moments, the guests all realize there is only one way to win this game — stay alive. Mentioning to much more about what horrors befall the party guests, would simple ruin the film for you. I can tell you there are plenty of cringe-worthy moments in store for all involved!
‘Would You Rather’ reminds me of the glory days of 80s slashers flicks. Specifically, the days when my friends and I would weed through the inventory of our local Mom and Pop video shops to discover the next chilling feature to keep ourselves on the edge of our seats. The film was a “throwback” vibe to it that definite delivers it fair share of charm. It is not a film laden with in your face gore and let’s your imagination run wild while much of gruesome activity takes place off screen. Director David Guy Levy keeps the action bottled up in one room for the majority of the film, which definitely provides the viewer with a claustrophobic feeling that adds to the atmosphere of the film. The high point of ‘Would You Rather,’ without a doubt, is a powerhouse performance by genre favorite, Jeffrey Combs. In the role he shows his amazing range as he transforms from smooth talking businessman to extravagant philanthropist to a twisted psychopath over the course of 93 minutes. Brittany Snow has a certain air about her where I believe she could be solid horror heroine in future films. Horror films where once viewed as a step down for working actors but we are in a whole new era these days. I whole-heartedly hope that future roles in horror are an option she does explore, as she has the chops to breathe life into a project and make it special. I don’t want to take anything away from the rest of the cast’s performances, as they also are totally up to the task of selling the terror their characters must endure.
While the film may not satisfy some of the horror fans who are used to over the top gore and shocking moments, ‘Would You Rather’ is definitely worth a watch.
IFC Midnight’s heart-stopping horror thriller WOULD YOU RATHER, starring Brittany Snow and Sasha Grey, is now playing in select theaters, SundanceNow, Cable VOD, and other digital outlets (iTunes, Amazon Streaming, PS3 Playstation Unlimited, XBOX Zune, Google PLAY and YouTube).