Would You Rather looks like the kind of movie I usually despise. But recently, Bloody Disgusting’s YouTube channel give it a recommendation so I decided to check it out because I haven’t covered many newer movies this year. I must say I’m impressed.
Iris (Brittany Snow) is a wholesome young blonde who’s had to put her life on hold in order to care for her sick brother. One day she meets the super rich Shepard Lambrick (Jeffery Combs) who invites her and a handful of others to a mysterious dinner party. Iris reluctantly accepts, but when she makes it known she’s a vegetarian, Lambrick offers her a deal: if she eats all the meat on her plate, he’ll give her ten thousand dollars, cash. When Lambrick notices another dinner guest (John Heard) hasn’t touched his wine because he’s sixteen years sober, the charitable host offers the ex-alcoholic a similarly fucked up deal.
And that’s only the appetizer. What the guests soon learn is they’ve been invited to play a twisted version of Would You Rather, which goes something like this: Would you rather stab the person next to you in the leg, or give the person at the end of the table three lashes with a whip? The problem with most movies with built-in candy bar scenes is they find trouble topping the previous ones. Would You Rather manages to top everything that came before it time after time. This is one diabolically entertaining movie with a lot of gruesome surprises. The pleasure Lambrick gets from orchestrating the game is some darkly funny stuff to see.
Brittany Snow’s presence makes you suspect this is yet another mindless horror movie aimed solely at the kind of teens who’ve never seen a legitimate horror movie in their lives, but it feels more like a Twilight Zone episode or a Richard Matheson story. I think I would have preferred it more if the dinner guests were voluntarily playing the sick games, rather than forced by gunpoint, but that’s a superficial complaint. (I mean, come on, isn’t it sicker when good people do fucked up stuff when they don’t actually have to?)
I made three predictions during the movie and two of them (including the end) turned out to be right. Even so, I hesitate to call this movie predictable. “Predictable” suggests I disliked the movie, yet I really, really liked it. No, I don’t think it’s predictable, just that it’s a certain kind of a story that has to go the way it did. The more I think about Would You Rather, the more I like it.