There are elements from two extremely specific sub-genres of horror which are borrowed from very blatantly to create Would You Rather. Separate these two from each other and each would be easy to separate this film from a mass of others alike, but the originality comes from the way the genres are blended together here. Would You Rather contain countless familiar elements which could be found in many other films, but the ingredients have never previously been combined together as they have been in Would You Rather.
The torture porn captivity films are blended with the thrillers about games of life or death, played for financial gain. Essentially, Would You Rather takes the premise of 13 Tzameti (or the English-language remake, 13) and replaces the game of Russian roulette with far more creative acts of physical and psychological torture. A despicable philanthropist (Jeffrey Combs) invites a group of desperate individuals into his home for the chance to win a large sum of money to take all of their problems away. The one detail left out to the participants is the height of the stakes for those who lose the game.
Once the game begins, each of the participants is forced to stay and compete, with death as the only escape other than winning. Iris (Brittany Snow) is our obvious protagonist, attempting to win for her sick brother and making sacrificial choices during the game in order to avoid hurting others. Her behavior is overwhelmingly saccharine for much of the film, and though this is for a purpose in the storyline, some of the over-acting makes it somewhat difficult to root for Iris to win. Perhaps it was miscasting, because putting the semi-star of countless terrible teen films in a horror film just made me long for her demise. On the other hand, casting porn star Sasha Grey as one of the more despicable participants in the game may have been a bit on-the-nose.
Clever premise aside, there are some harrowing sequences of creative torture porn. The gore is not on the level of a Saw film, using a simpler approach. There are no elaborate contraptions, as the most devious thing is the greedy nature of humans which allows them to chop each other down for the chance at monetary bliss. Would You Rather also co-stars Lawrence Gilliard Jr. (“Army Wives”), Eddie Steeples (“My Name is Earl”), and Charlie Hofheimer (“Mad Men”) The Blu-ray includes a commentary track with director David Guy Levy and writer Steffen Schlachtenhaufen. There is also a poster gallery and trailer for the film.
Entertainment Value: 7/10
Quality of Filmmaking: 6/10
Historical Significance: 5/10
Disc Features: 6/10