Choose or Die: Review
Two down-on-their-luck programmers discover a killer 80’s video game in the retro Netflix horror feature, Choose or Die. Director Toby Meakins and Screenwriter Simon Allen draw a compelling concept, a blood-soaked slasher depicting an 8-bit descent into the untapped horrors of our blinding nostalgia. It’s just a shame that the end product wastes any promise.
Choose or Die represents the latest Netflix streamer to woefully underutilize its high-concept premise. There are shadings of promise throughout, especially in Meakins’ clever utilization of 80’s game design to depict several of the grizzly setpieces. That said, the film exhibits a disproportionate reliance on its stylistic allures without providing a reason for viewers to invest in the half-baked narrative.
Stars Iola Evans and Asa Butterfield find themselves trying to ignite an emotional pulse out of Allen’s generic screenplay. Both actors are stuck with little to do, going through the motions in characters who read like amalgams of other horror archetypes. I also think Allen has a pulse on engaging ideas with the film’s denouncement of nostalgia culture – but the concepts are left untapped aside from a few lackluster dialogue exchanges (a character literally screams “Fuck the 80s”).
Similar to the dust-coated game it’s based on, Choose or Die is likely to be forgotten amidst an endless wave of throwaway horror offerings.