By Larry Dwyer
How far would you go to save a loved one? This is the question that Iris has to ask herself while playing a sinister little game of Would You Rather with a room full of strangers.
If youâ€™ve never played Would You Rather, the premise is simple enough: A question with two choices is asked of someone and they must answer. Such asâ€¦Would You Rather smell poop all the time, no matter where you go or Would You Rather smell like poop all the time and everyone knows that itâ€™s you but you donâ€™t have to smell it? Get it? Two rather unsavory propositions but you have to choose one of them; thatâ€™s the game. In the movie, however, itâ€™s taken one step further as the participants must act on their choice.
â€œWould You Ratherâ€ follows Iris (played by Brittany Snow) as she struggles to make money and take care of her sick, younger brother in the absence of their parents who are both deceased. All of a sudden, hope is granted to her in the form of a wealthy philanthropist named Shepard Lambrick (played amazingly by Dr. Herbert West â€“ I mean, Jeffrey Combs) who offers to help her one on condition; dinner. He tells her there will be a dinner party that she must attend with other possible recipients of the Lambrick familyâ€™s charity and that a game will be played. The good chap will go no further than that in his description.
Fast forward a bit later and weâ€™re with Iris as she arrives at the dinner party. Sheâ€™s escorted to a room in a lush house where seven others are drinking, socializing or off on their own. She grabs a drink with two gentlemen and we quickly see that the one thing they all have in common is a sense of uncertainty; itâ€™s easy to tell that none of them really know what to expect from the evening.
Enter the charming Mr. Lambrick who thanks them all for coming and invites them to the dining room for dinner. As soon as dinner is served, the game begins. Iris asks if there is anything other than steak to eat since she is a passionate vegetarian. Well that particular passion is brushed aside when sheâ€™s offered a prize of $10,000 if she would eat the steak. Another fellow diner (John Heard from â€œHome Aloneâ€) is found to be a recovering alcoholic and he blows off years of sobriety for a $50,000 prize by drinking an entire bottle of scotch.
Their host is thrilled with how things are progressing as he announces that the real game is about to begin. First, he offers everyone at the table an outâ€¦they can all leave before the game begins but they will be passing up the possibility of winning an incredible fortune if they do. However, once the game begins, they must compete. Everyone, most likely blown away at how easily the cash is being doled out, decides to play the gameâ€¦unfortunately for them.
Director David Guy Levy does a wonderful job of creating intense tension as the game progresses and he gets a great deal of emotional acting from a seasoned cast that includes Snow, Heard, Combs and naughty-film star Sasha Grey. Please donâ€™t expect a gore-fest however; Mr. Levy manages to gross you out without actually showing the goreâ€¦which is certainly something to be applauded. While the ending is a bit transparent, the journey there is one that I highly recommend.
Stay gory, my friends.