Would You Rather (film)
|Would You Rather|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||David Guy Levy|
|Written by||Steffen Schlachtenhaufen|
|Edited by||Josh Schaeffer|
|Distributed by||IFC Films|
Would You Rather is a 2012 American psychological horror-thriller film directed by David Guy Levy and starring Brittany Snow and Jeffrey Combs. It is based on the party game "would you rather", and centers on Snow's character, Iris, as she attends a dinner party, where she must partake in a life-threatening game to help her sick younger brother secure a donor. The film premiered at Screamfest 2012.
Iris, a young woman caring for her sick younger brother Raleigh, is unable to afford the costs of his treatment for leukemia. Her brother's oncologist, Dr. Barden, introduces Iris to Shepard Lambrick, a philanthropist, who offers her a deal: if she wins a parlour game at a dinner party, his charitable foundation will pay for Raleigh's treatment and locate a bone marrow donor for him immediately. Dr. Barden tells Iris that he once played the game and won. Iris asks Shepard if she can think it over and get back to him if she chooses to go. Shepard says yes, but informs her that she must let him know before tonight. After Iris finds out that she was not hired for a job she applied for, she contacts Shepard and lets him know that she will attend the dinner party.
The next day at Lambrick's manor, Iris is introduced to his son Julian and the other contestants: Lucas; Travis, a war veteran; Linda, a paralyzed elderly woman; Peter, a gambling addict; Cal; Amy; and Conway, an alcoholic debtor. A steak and foie gras dinner is served but Iris, a vegetarian, initially declines to eat it. Shepard then offers her $10,000.00 to compromise her principles; she reluctantly accepts his offer and eats the steak. When Shepard realizes Conway is a recovering alcoholic, he offers him $10,000.00 to drink a glass of wine. When Conway declines, Shepard offers him $50,000.00 to drink an entire decanter of Scotch. Conway accepts the $50,000.00 and drinks the Scotch.
After dinner ends, the game begins. Shepard reveals it to be a version of the party game "would you rather" in which players must choose between two options. Shepard gives his guests the opportunity to leave without playing, but everyone stays. After Shepard's butler, a former MI5 agent named Bevans, wheels in an electric shock machine, Conway attempts to leave but is shot dead. Each contestant is then given 15 seconds to choose between shocking themselves or another person. Cal shocks himself instead of Amy. Amy shocks Linda, who temporarily passes out. Linda shocks Peter, who attempts to leave but is threatened by Bevans. Lucas is shocked next by Travis; then Lucas refuses to shock Iris, instead, he shocks himself for the second time in a row and passes out. Iris then chooses to shock herself instead of Cal. During the break, Travis and Julian get into an argument.
In the second round, each contestant has 30 seconds to choose between stabbing someone in the thigh with an ice pick or whipping Travis three times with a sjambok. After Iris debates her options of stabbing Cal or whipping Travis, Travis willingly submits to being whipped by Iris to save anyone from being stabbed. Julian smirks and snickers as Travis is whipped, revealing that Julian is behind Travis' fate. It is then Lucas' turn. He also chooses to whip Travis three times. Travis is then given the option to either stab Lucas or take three lashes from Bevans. He chooses to take the lashings, despite Lucas' attempts to stop him from doing so. Knowing Travis will not survive another whipping, Peter stabs Linda in the femoral artery and tries to stop the bleeding. Linda stabs Amy and Amy elbows her in the nose. Amy, who is more focused on eliminating everyone else, is allowed to stab any player she wants and chooses Iris. Instead of stabbing Iris in the leg she stabs her on her side, close to her lung, trying to get Iris eliminated by killing her. With Lucas' help, Iris lives. However, it is then revealed that Linda has died from her wound. Cal chooses to whip Travis so he'll have a higher chance of winning by rendering Travis unresponsive.
Lucas causes a distraction, and everyone but Amy attempts to escape the room. Cal advances on Shepard with the sjambok as Lucas attacks the guards and Iris escapes. After Shepard shoots and kills Cal, the others surrender. Shepard sends Bevans and Julian after Iris. Julian finds Iris first and attempts to rape her, but she stabs him with the ice pick. Dr. Barden, who has had second thoughts about sending Iris to Shepard, breaks into the mansion to save her. Drawn by her cries, Dr. Barden and Bevans converge on her. Bevans kills Dr. Barden, escorts Iris back to the game, and sends Julian upstairs.
After Bevans and Shepard apologize to Iris for Julian's behavior, the third round begins with each player having 30 seconds to choose to be submerged underwater, in a barrel, for two minutes, or an unknown task written on a card that is placed in front of them. Peter chooses his card, which requires him to light a firecracker in his hand. Shepard has Bevans secure a quarter stick of dynamite in place with duct tape. The explosion destroys Peter's hand, causing a heart attack, and he dies. Lucas' card forces him to slit open his own eye within 30 seconds; he does so and survives. Iris chooses the barrel and survives; her card is revealed to have all of her teeth extracted. Amy, whose ex-husband drowned her daughter, chooses her card and learns that she must be submerged underwater for four minutes. She drowns.
Only Iris and Lucas remain for the fourth round. Iris wins a coin toss to go first. She is given the choice to either shoot and kill Lucas to win the game, or spare him which would result in both walking away empty-handed. As Lucas attempts to talk her into sparing him and explains the struggles of his family, she abruptly shoots and kills him. Shepard crowns her the champion, gives her a bag full of money and explains that a donor has already been located for her brother and he will have surgery later that week as well as financial support to her continuing her studies. When Iris arrives home, she finds Raleigh asleep on his bed so she heads to shower the blood off her. After the shower, she goes to her brother's room only to find Raleigh was not sleeping but had committed suicide by overdosing on his medication, causing her to cry out in anguish.
The film's shooting began in July 2011. It was filmed on location in Pasadena, Woodland Hills, and Los Angeles, CA.
Rotten Tomatoes, a review aggregator, reports that 59% of 22 surveyed critics gave it a positive review; the average rating is 5.17/10. The consensus reads "Though restrained by most torture porn standards, Would You Rather's brilliant premise is ultimately harmed by its tendency towards blood and guts." Metacritic rated it 20 out of 100, based on 11 reviews.
- "IFC Midnight Acquires 'Would You Rather'". Deadline Hollywood. October 15, 2012. Retrieved September 25, 2016.
- "Details On New Sasha Grey Film, Would You Rather". Dread Central. Retrieved February 1, 2012.
- "Would You Rather (2013)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved December 10, 2018.
- "Would You Rather". Metacritic. Retrieved December 18, 2015.