Would you rather? (2012, Dir. David Levy)
Finding something to watch on Netflix is rather like wandering around a car boot sale. There doesn’t seem to be any discernible pattern or quality control, and you never know if you’ll end up with a clunker or a hidden gem amongst the vast quantity of stuff you’ve never heard of.
‘Would you rather’ is unlikely to win many Oscars, but is a well-made and quietly gripping film that makes the most of a limited budget. The rather unlikely premise is that Iris (played by a suitably wholesome Brittney Snow) has had to take lowly-paid jobs to look after her ailing brother who needs a bone marrow transplant. A series of highly unlikely scenarios give her the opportunity to have all his treatments paid for by a billionaire philanthropist. Alas! Our wealthy benefactor attaches strings to his generous offer, namely that she’ll have to join seven other guests at a dinner party and play a game, with the winner getting the money.
It could have turned into a cut-price Saw ripoff at this point, but luckily for us Levy takes things in a slightly different direction, with moral conundrums gradually cranking up the tension enough to make you forgive the checklist of movie stereotypes (rich, sneering protagonist? Check. English henchman? Yup, butler who was handily an ex MI5 interrogator).
The film does get a bit gruesome towards the end. There are more than a few shades of Agatha Christie’s ‘And then there were none’, but the good acting, tight story and an interesting (if far-fetched) premise make it well worth 90 mins of your time.