February 14, 2013

Would You Rather? (2013)

(aka I'd Do Both with Brittany Snow)
Release Date: On VOD and in Limited Release now.
Country: USA
Written by: Steffen Schlachtenhaufen. 
Directed by: David Guy Levy.
Starring: Brittany Snow, Jeffrey Combs, Sasha Grey, Robin Taylor and John Heard.

We didn't have a lot of hope going into this one. Although it starred Jeffrey Combs and Brittany Snow (two of our faves), and the trailer did look promising, we just knew it was going to underwhelm us.

We figured it was going to either be another low-budget Torture Porn flick at best, or a shoddy Saw ripoff at worst. Would You Rather? is a Torture Porn flick, and it is definitely inspired by Saw and its ilk, but it it most definitely not shoddy.

More and more movies these days are seeing VOD Releases that coincide with their Theatrical Releases, and we're kinda liking it.

In this case, we kinda loved it.

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Sweet, sexy little Iris is a girl working her tail off to take care of her terminally-ill brother. When she meets a creepy, uber-rich philanthropist named Shepard Lambrick, it looks as if her prayers have been answered. He offers her a ton of money and a bone marrow transplant for her brother, and all she has to do is head over to his house and play a game with a bunch of strangers. With no other options in sight, she reluctantly agrees to the creepy offer, even though she's sure it's going to involve some sort of prostitution and/or rape.

Go for it, girl. It sounds legit.
Lambrick and his creepy son (who looks like the result of Tom Hardy and Draco Malfoy having a love child together) have invited 8 strangers to their mansion to play a game of Would You Rather? You know, like "Would you rather lick a filthy hobo clean or would you rather sit through every Uwe Boll film ever made? Twice." Twisted stuff, right? Well their version is even more twisted than that! *For the record, we'd lick the filthy hobo clean. That's pretty much a given.

I'm tellin' ya... Tom Hardy + Draco Malfoy.
Needless to say, the 8 contestants are forced to question their morals by deciding who gets stabbed with ice picks, electrocuted, caned, drowned... and none of it works out well for any of them. Does Iris survive and save her brother's life, or does the evil slut in the room outfox them all instead? Does something crazy happen, or does something else even crazier happen? Then who was phone? Far be it from us to spoil things for you, but we will say that the ending is one mean-spirited little twist.

We didn't see it coming either, Brittany Snow.
Would You Rather? is a tense little exercise in morals and classism. That sentence makes the movie sound far more pretentious than it actually is, but it's true. A rich guy gathering together a bunch of poor suckers who desperately need money, and forcing them to hurt themselves (and each other) for his amusement (and to get paid), is a pretty big indictment of modern times in America. Not literally, of course, but figuratively.

Aside from that particular aesthetic, the movie is pretty effective and terrifying for one where most of the narrative takes place in only a single room. The "Would you rather?" games are mean and twisted, and include plenty of cringe-inducing moments. For us though, the real reason that the movie works as well as it does is because every little thing isn't explained. It all unfolds naturally, never getting bogged down in an overly excessive back story or reasoning. David Guy Levy made himself a pretty good little movie here.

Despite a few missteps here and there, the movie is also solid in its acting and characters. Brittany Snow is the focal point here, and why shouldn't she be? The girl is gorgeous and can act to boot, and she pulls off the role of a terrified yet determined big sister convincingly. She really needs to do more Horror flicks. For our money though, the best role went to genre legend Jeffrey Combs; watching him play the unbalanced bad guy here was a genuine treat. Roles like this show why he's an all-time great.

Nothing but love for this guy.
There were a few plot elements and characters that were either not explored very far or dropped altogether. For instance, I would have liked to have seen more of the creepy son, but where did he end up going? Also, everyone in this movie sucks at escaping.

Having Sasha Grey in your movie, yet offering your audience no sex or nudity is not only a tease, but a total dropping of the ball. Yes, we respect filmmakers that take the high road, but come on man... you're talking about Sasha Grey here!

She would have banged everyone in this room. Everyone.
As twisted and nasty as this movie is, I honestly expected to the blood and gore to be far more plentiful than it was. David Guy Levy opted to go with the "more is less" philosophy here, and kept the gory visuals to a minimum for the most part. Don't misunderstand us; there was plenty of violence on display here, but it was just not overtly messy. We would have really liked to have seen the eye gag up close.

Alright, that part was pretty crazy...
Other than Brittany Snow taking a quick and rather eventless shower, this one is devoid of any and all sexiness and flesh... which surprises me a bit, because one of the movie's stars, Sasha Grey, is a dirty, dirty porn star.

Would You Rather? may not have drawn increasingly fickle crowds to the Multiplexes of the world, but thanks to online and in-home VOD streaming, filmmakers have the chance to capture an audience and show their wares, all while bypassing the massive expense of distribution.

That is a good thing, for them and us. Especially in this case.

This is a fun and effective flick, and definitely worth the price of a VOD rental. We'll be looking forward to catching this one again when it hits Blu-ray.


Brittany Snow and Sasha Grey make any room hotter, and seeing them doing horrible things to themselves (and each other) does not make them any less hot. Well, it kinda does, but still. They're Hotties.


  1. Totally adding this to the list. o.o

  2. I watched this after reading your review and I really enjoyed it, it was fun. The only big "oh, come on" moment I had was the card versus something solid part... why, especially the last person but even the second, would choose what they did after seeing what everyone else chose was very silly and kind of took me out of movie. If it wasn't for that, and like you said giving no info on the son, I think it could have been an A. Have you ever watched the 2 Red Room movies (Japanese)? They are similar, but more intentionally out there as the Japanese tend to be... that and bad - straight up no apologies fun B flicks, especially the sequel.

  3. Yeah, Cydra, it's at least a good sign that people are saying it's close to an "A" level movie.

    I saw one of the Red Room flicks, I think the 2nd one, and if I remember correctly, it was crazy and over the top.

    Gotta love the Japanese and their very different way of filmmaking :)

  4. If it comes to crazyness, nobody is going to beat the Japanese. Nobody.

    As a genrey film, both Red Room films hit the right spots, although the acting could have been better.

    Coming back to the actual film this thread is about, I liked "Would You Rather?". It's a decent effort on the genre, although I wished they would have given us a bit more gore and I was really disappointed that we weren't able to feast our eyes on him slitting his eye. And some nudity would have make us a bit happier, too. (Yes, I'm a girl but I can appreciate some nice figures, too.) This shower scene doesn't really count as fanservice. The twist on the end, I saw it coming, nothing special but mean nonetheless.

  5. Yeah, Myra-Belle, the Japanses do have the crazy market cornered. You want over the top, then they are the ones to go and see.