August 19, 2011

Choose (2011)

"A journalism student tracks a killer with the help of her detective father and a therapist."

You would think that a combination of "Saw" and "Untraceable" featuring a killer who forces his victims to choose between one gruesome fate or another equally as bad just couldn't go wrong. Unfortunately, it did.

This was yet another absolutely awful film on Netflix which was so badly done that it deserves a special mention rather than being passed over quickly in a list. Somebody on Reddit was watching it last night so, even though they didn't recommend it, I had to check it out for myself.

Featuring quite a few well known actors (such as Kevin Pollak, Bruce Dern, and Talia Balsam) but actually starring two who you've probably never heard of (Katheryn Winnick and Nicholas Tucci) was the least of this film's problems.

"Choose" must have seemed like a great idea on paper, but the amateur execution and off camera kills made this R-rated horror look like a PG-13. Some people might like to use their imagination, but I wanted to see the gore and I felt cheated. There was just no real shock value to any of it without actually seeing the brutal acts themselves and, it almost goes without saying, there was nothing scary at all.

The choices which the victims had to make were so predictable that they made even the most unimaginative traps from the "Saw" franchise look good. I'm not a fan of the later "Saw" movies, but I'd actually rather watch any of those again than a sanitised clone like this.

In fairness, I didn't get completely bored with the story until 45 minutes in. Since the running time was around 100 minutes that was still nearly an hour of tedium. I just didn't care enough about the main character even though she was alright to look at, and there weren't enough vignette kills to keep me entertained. Even the unrealistic use of computers and the internet washed over me.

Some of the acting was simply atrocious even though the dialogue wasn't too bad. The delivery was often bland and emotionless which, I suppose, wasn't any different to anything else in the film. I could see that the script would probably have made an excellent book about 20 years ago but it failed miserably as a modern horror film. As a cure for insomnia though, I'd still give it full marks.

There was one really good jump scare which almost woke me back up, but the denouement was as contrived as could be. There wasn't even much of a mystery either as it was impossible to predict what the killer's motivation was until quite late. All the detective work was merely padding and, when the reveal came from the killer's own mouth, it was all wrapped up far too quickly.

The ending itself was particularly lame, and was even followed by another clich├ęd ending just in case the first one wasn't good enough. Neither one impressed me although the intention was clearly to be clever. With better pacing, it might have been good, but as it was, it was simply disappointing.

"Choose" is available to watch through the Netflix stream right now, but if at all possible, I suggest that you choose something else.

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