As with many Netflix releases, Choose or Die was not well-marketed. This isn’t always a statement on the film’s quality, but instead the sad by-product of the content mill that streaming services are fast becoming. One of the other by-products is the unimpressive and uninteresting movies that are churned out along the way.
Choose or Die is essentially an exercise in pointlessness. Its horror premise is interesting enough to draw in fans of the genre, and its retro gimmick might prove valuable in securing a very specific demographic, but it’s not an ambitious film by any stretch of the imagination. Its story takes place in an unnamed and deliberately ambiguous setting (an almost exclusively British cast putting on American accents make this even more confusing), which is seemingly intended to conjure up “it-could-happen-to-you” vibes but instead only manages to further alienate the film from reality.
Unrelentingly bland visuals attempt to evoke vague cyberpunk imagery, although Choose or Die routinely fails to do so. Its story is driven enough, with solid pacing and a relatively coherent story (given the wonky-but-interesting premise), but it simply doesn’t do anything to distinguish itself from other run-of-the-mill horror movies. Instead, Choose or Die settles for a menacing video game with supernatural roots that are never robustly examined, and it pays its story off with final scenes that make only the barest semblance of sense.
Choose or Die is the kind of horror film that fails to raise the stakes. Its protagonist is sympathetic enough, but she isn’t the sort of heroine you can really root for, and her only friend is the irritating Isaac (Asa Butterfield) who offers much-needed context to the movie’s supernatural technology-based story.
Choose or Die is ultimately brainless. It lacks any substantial charm or genuine scares, but it does feature enough in the way of its interesting visuals and score to be reasonably entertaining. While it’s not one that’s likely to top anyone’s list of must-see horror movies, it’s good for killing a couple of hours with mindless horror.
Summary: Choose or Die evokes ’80s video game nostalgia while aimed primarily at an audience that weren’t conceived until at least a full decade later, which should go some way towards proving how little thought went into the film itself.
Highlights: Choose or Die manages to maintain an interesting and consistent visual style that at least makes it feel relatively unique.