Content Warning: Review contains graphic language and descriptions. Continue at personal discretion.
Trigger Warning: Film contains brief scenes of suicide and attempted rape, as well as graphic violence and self-mutilation.
Netflix rating: 1.9 stars
Personal rating: 3 stars
Film rating: R
At this point in the semester, I’ve seen some shit on Netflix. From humans sown ass-to-face to Satan in a sweater vest, it’s been a wild ride. However, never before this semester have I been so disturbed. That’s right, David Guy Levy’s Would You Rather has beat out The Human Centipede as the most disturbing movie I’ve reviewed thus far. While The Human Centipede was certainly filled with gore and the dark demons that live in the recesses of the human psyche, WYR was disturbing on a whole other level.
The concept of WYR is not a new one. A group of people is trapped in a house and must do disturbing, violent, unspeakable things to themselves and others in order for at least one of them to survive/escape. Nothing groundbreaking here. What was interesting was the way the film was set up. This group of strangers wasn’t brought together by some social pariah driven by a shitty childhood and/or mental instability. The antagonist seems to be a fairly stable, extremely successful business man who’s in the business of helping others. The only catch is that he chooses how to help by way of “to-the-death” slumber party games.
This was actually a pretty good movie. The film itself was well-made, the dialogue was never over-dramatic or redundant, and every character was distinct and unique–something that really helped drive the plot. However, I couldn’t help but cringe throughout the viewing process. Here I was, a lonely college student on an average weeknight, curled up in my bed watching strangers slowly descend into barbaric, survivalist madness under the gaze of a calm, well-mannered businessman. A man was whipped to death with an African whipping stick, an old woman stabbed with an ice pick, and a man shot without more than ten seconds’ thought.
And there I sat.
Just like the man running the game. I sat and watched as these characters shocked and stabbed and beat themselves and each other for the enjoyment of not only the man leading the dinner party, but for mine as well. What society is this where we can believably create characters who enjoy watching financially-crippled individuals fight for their lives in a twisted parlor game? What society is this where this movie is marketed for enjoyment?
And how accurate is this film? How far are any of us willing to go to save ourselves, or the ones we love? Are we willing to maim and injure ourselves and others? Are we willing to kill? Are we willing to die?
I would go on longer, but thinking back to this movie is actually fucking me up to the point that I think I need to wrap this up. But hey, maybe that’s just me. My sister loved it – cracked up at it, even. However, I’m fairly certain my sister is Satan, so that’s not much of a surprise. If this movie sounds like your cup of tea, be my guest. It won’t disappoint. However, if you – like me – are pretty easily affected by movies that delve into the dark corners of the human psyche and refuse to leave, you may want to pass on this one. You can always take a crack at an episode of How I Met Your Mother or Buffy the Vampire Slayer to get your daily Netflix fix.