Netflix Halloween Countdown: "Would You Rather"

Updated on October 31, 2017

Netflix Halloween Countdown

For the month of October, I have selected 17 horror (or horror-themed) movies, at random, on Netflix. Over the course of this month, I watched and reviewed a lot of spooky, scary, gory, chilling, horror-themed movies and, with each review, I have included a table (at the very bottom of the article) where I have ranked them in order from best to worst. So if you are looking to get in the Halloween spirit, by watching some Halloween style movies, then these articles are for you!

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Synopsis

Iris (Brittany Snow) is struggling to make ends meet. Her brother is terminally ill, and she is struggling to find a way to pay for treatment. When she goes to meet with her brother's doctor, there is a very wealthy man, named Shepard Lambrick (Jeffrey Combs), waiting to meet her. Shepard Lambrick has heard Iris' story and wants to give her an amazing opportunity.

He has a lot of money and wants to give some of that money to someone who deserves it, but he only wants to give that money to one person. So he has found a group of people (who are all struggling in some way), and is inviting them to dinner at his house. There, he will try to get to know each person so that he can decide who is worthy of his donation. If Iris is chosen, Shepard Lambrick will pay for her brother's treatment and give her enough money to pay all of her debts. At the dinner, the guests discover that Shepard Lambrick has a more sinister plan to his night when a high-stakes game of Would You Rather, quickly turns into a sadistic game of life or death.

Official Trailer

The Pros & Cons

The Pros
The Cons
The Game (+8pts)
Disruptions (-6pts)
Amy & The Questions (+8pts)
Julien & The Doctor (-3pts)
Jeffrey Combs (+4pts)
Predictable (-10pts)
All movies start with an average score of 75pts, points are then awarded for each Pro and taken away for each Con. Each Pro or Con is designated points ranging from 0-10 allowing me to convey to you how significant these Pros or Cons are.
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Pro: The Game (+8pts)

This is definitey one of the film's biggest strengths, because it is a unique premise. The game forces it's contestants (or victim's depending on how you look at it) to make impossible decisions. The game starts by being pretty simple. Shepard Lambrick (Jeffrey Combs) offers to give the film's protagonist (a vegetarian) a specified amount of money if she eats the steak on her plate. She, of course, says no, so he continues to increase the amount of money until she gives in.

At first, the game is relatively harmless, but it escalates very quickly into a game of life or death. In order to survive, the "contestants" have to make a series of impossible decisions until one "contestant" is left standing (living).

The game was a lot of fun to watch and it made for a unique of movie. The impossible decisions reminded me, somewhat, of the Saw films, but there were a couple major differences (between this movie and the Saw franchise). The first, was that this film presents the impossible decisions in a way that focuses (more) on the psychology behind them. The second, was that the film felt more like a game, where the Saw films were really just torture that was pretending to be a game (and that definitely worked for those movies).

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Con: Disruptions (-6pts)

This film's premise is simple; it is a very sadistic game of Would You Rather (a game that all of us are familiar with in one way or another). The film is at it's strongest when the characters are playing the game, but the film starts to fall apart when it forgets it's own gimmick. Too often, characters in this film try to disrupt the game to survive (or rescue other characters). This mentality makes sense, but I only accept it once. Sure, real people would behave this way, but this is a movie. It first (and foremost) has to be entertaining.

The movie has a very unique premise that continues to be disrupted, which ends up ruining the premise. The first one makes sense, because that is how humans behave. However, after being shown the severity of their situations, the characters should have just shut up and played the game. Every single person, who saw the trailer for this film, wanted to watch how a sadistic game of Would You Rather would unfold. Instead, the film felt like it should have been called: Trying Not to Play Would You Rather.

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Pro: Amy & The Questions (+8pts)

One of best parts of this movie, in my opinion, is the questions it forces it's viewers to ask themselves. A lot of these questions come in the form of Amy (Sasha Grey). The game asks: what are you willing to do in order to save yourself or someone you care about? Each contestant is desperate and there for a reason. We do not learn much of Amy's background, but this character realizes very quickly that only one of these contestants is making it out alive. As a result, she is willing to do anything and everything to ensure that she is that person.

Are you willing to inflict harm on the person next to you (who you do not know) if it means saving someone you care about? Are you willing to kill others if it means saving yourself? Are you willing to inflict permanent harm (with unimaginable pain) on your body, if it means surviving to live another day? Again, a lot of these questions are raised as a result of the things Amy says or does. I thought Sasha Grey gave a decent (enough) performance but, regardless of who played the role, this character was very necessary for the film.

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Con: Julien & The Doctor (-3pts)

Now that I have gone over Amy, a necessary character, I have to address two very unnecessary characters. Julien (Robin Lord Taylor) is Shepard Lambrick's son. He has inherited everything he has, which includes his father's sadistic nature. One thing he did not inherit from his father, was his father's manners and respect of women. This is something that the film makes a point of showing. While Shepard Lambrick sincerely respects women, his son is a rapist, and Shepard hates that. You may be wondering, what does any of this have to do with a game of Would You Rather? I was wondering the same thing.

This does not end up playing any significant role in the game itself. Instead, we get unnecessary character development for an unnecessary character. Julien is not part of the game, he is not a host of the game, he is just there. Another unnecessary character is Dr. Barden (Lawrence Gillard Jr.). He is the doctor that persuades Iris to enter the game. After that, he decides to get involved in another way. Why? This character should have introduced Iris to Shapard Lambrick, and that's it. Instead we get more character development for a character that is not part of the game and ends up playing no significant role in the film itself. Character development is usually fine, but not when it comes at the expense of the character development for more important characters (such as the characters who are actually in the game).

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Pro: Jeffrey Combs (+4pts)

While I enjoyed the premise of this film, I can admit that it was a bit ridiculous. However, thanks to the captivating performance from Jeffrey Combs, I totally bought it. Jeffrey Combs was so entertaining to watch. He plays such an over-the-top character that has to sell the premise to both the audience, and the characters of the film, and he did so successfully. He is the driving force for the plot of this film but he is also the comedic relief. As all of these sadistic things are happening, this guy is having an absolute blast. He is definitely the antagonist of the film, but he was very entertaining to watch.

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Con: Predictable (-10pts)

This film's biggest problem is that it was simply too predictable. Out of all the characters, who are "contestants" in this game, only one of them gets any real character development. So why don't you just guess which character could has the best chance of walking out of the game alive? Now could other characters have survive? Maybe, but, throughout the movie, it was painfully obvious that (if the game would reach a proper conclusion) it would be the main character that would survive. You may be thinking: it is usually obvious that the main character is the one to survive. I agree, and I think that is acceptable for monster movies, slasher movies, etc. The problem is that this movie is based on a game. It is based on a contest where half the fun would be discovering who has what it takes to survive. This movie robs it's audience of that chance.

Another area where the film was way too obvious was how it hinted at the way it would end. I do not want to spoil it, but other characters hint (throughout this movie) at what it will take to get out of this game alive. The biggest problem is that you could guess how the film ends over an hour in advance, and you would be right.

Grading Scale

Grade
Category
Points
A+
Amazing
95-100
A-
Amazing
90-94
B+
Good
85-89
B-
Good
80-84
C+
Average
75-79
C-
Average
70-74
D+
Bad
65-69
D-
Bad
60-64
F
Garbage
45-59
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Grade: C+ (76pts)

Would You Rather is a decent horror film. Not great, but decent. It is not going to scare anyone, but it has some truly disturbing scenes where characters must go to extreme lengths in order to survive. My favorite part of the film is the questions that it asks it's audience. It makes you ask yourself questions like: "What would you be willing to do to save yourself or someone you love?", then (based on the severity of the challenges) it makes you doubt if you woul have what it takes to go through with it.

This is a mostly compelling movie, but it starts to fall apart when it forgets what it is. This is a gimmick movie that (about halfway through the film) tries to steer away from the gimmick and it simply does not hold up. The side characters were either unnecessary, or severly underdeveloped, and the plot (including the ending) was incredibly predictable. I would say this film started strong, but had a tough time following through and delivering a satisfying ending. This is another decent option if you are looking for an average, gory movie to watch (at home) on streaming services.

Ranking

Rank
Movie
Points
1
Housebound
87pts
2
The Awakening
82pts
3
Stake Land
81pts
4
The Babysitter
80pts
4
Gerald's Game
80pts
5
Stitches
78pts
6
V/H/S
77pts
7
Would You Rather
76pts
8
Viral
75pts
9
It Follows
74pts
9
Little Evil
74pts
10
The Babadook
73pts
11
The Bar
72pts
12
Yoga Hosers
69pts
13
Most Likely to Die
67pts
14
13 Cameras
66pts
15
Gallowwalkers
54pts

Comments

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    • profile image

      wezza 

      7 weeks ago

      Obviously the woman was gonna survive at the end so predictable not watching theses types of movies again what's the point if I know how it ends

    • Movie Beasts profile imageAUTHOR

      Bryan Ouellette 

      10 months ago from Hudson, MA

      Yeah, I understand. I think the only reason I have it higher than "Viral" on my list is because "Would You Rather" just felt more unique. You are correct though, I certainly did not think it was much better than "Viral".

      As for Robin Lord Taylor, I think he is a fantastic actor that does a great job of capturing the audience's attention. This movie is no different, he definitely has great on-screen chemistry. He is great in "Gotham" and has been great in so many roles, I just thought his character was too unnecessary for this film.

      Thank you for your feedback,

      -Bryan

    • NessMovieReviews profile image

      Mother of Movies and Series Reviews 

      10 months ago from Moreton Bay, Queensland

      I literally just watched this today.. jinx.

      I didnt think it was better than viral but it's only one point I guess.

      I agree with your thoughts on character development. My last handful of movies were extremely lacking, and it's hard to care when due care isnt taken in doing so. I think I felt the worst for the guy at the beginning until he didnt immediately get up with his 50 grand and go. That would have been unexpected had they killed him then. Also not letting her take a breath annoyed the heck out of me, they may as well have just shot her. The game hosts at times didnt seem intetested enough in the game playing to keep proper purposeful control. I didnt realise that the son annoyed me because he hogged the time untill you said so, I was too busy smiling about the fact he's the penguin in Gotham the series and he was great in that.

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