You know damn well when you sit down to watch a film titled CHOOSE (which boasts taglines like “Time to Decide” and “He Makes the Rules, You Make the Choice”) that you’re not about to behold a stunning piece of artwork. In all honesty, I doubt the filmmakers ever intended to make such work, but that doesn’t mean they couldn’t have at least tried to make a decent genre flick. Reading the taglines alone, you may suspect that this is a SAW rip-off, and, for the most part, you’d be absolutely correct.
CHOOSE is as basic a slasher entry as you’re going to get. It has everything: an introverted, disturbed, seemingly aggressive female protagonist; her overprotective father; her idiotic friends; a nameless killer who lurks in the shadows; and, of course, the obligatory death scenes. That’s it. You know exactly what you’ll get before you even press “Play.” At least CHOOSE tries to be clever in the way it goes about ripping off the SAW films (basically, the victims choose the way they are maimed/killed), but it’s a far cry from being able to be considered torture porn. If you crave more details regarding the plot/characters, check out the trailer:
The film isn’t all bad, though; it has its moments, and that’s more than I can say for some similar films. For one, some of the murders are pretty creative, if a little light on the gore. In terms of carnage, this is more CSI than any of the torture porn films out there — you’re going to see a lot more dried blood than wet stuff. Regardless, the effects are pretty convincing and looked to be practical throughout, which I certainly respect and would love to see more of.
The cast isn’t too bad either, particularly our aforementioned female protagonist, played by Katheryn Winnick (who previously appeared in episodes of the also aforementioned CSI franchise — go figure). Her performance is convincing when it needs to be. Unfortunately, the lack of any real threat from the killer hurts the film at times, because someone can only appear to be in so much danger when being terrorized with words and a flashlight.
Which brings us to the bad. CHOOSE features one of the most absurd excuses for a horror antagonist I’ve seen in a long time. He literally shines a flashlight in his victims’ eyes and demands they choose what will happen to them. Yeah, he packs a gun, too, but seriously, if I wanted to be frightened by a flashlight-wielding man with a gun, I’d tune in to reruns of NYPD BLUE. Oh, and this dude is one emo motherfucker, too. The last thing I want to hear a horror baddie do is complain about how ugly he is. This isn’t BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, dammit — I want menacing, not superficial.
Overall, there’s really not much to recommend this film. The practical effects are the best thing it has going for it, but there are plenty of much better films that you can spend your time with for that same reason. As far as SAW clones go, THE COLLECTOR is a more satisfying and enjoyable film (although it does veer more toward the torture porn realm than this one). Do yourself a favor and skip CHOOSE. I suspect that won’t be hard to do; I’d be surprised if it even gets a theatrical release here in the US. That is, unless you’re terrified of flashlights and superficial men.
Rating:Tags: Crime, Horror, movie, review