The Netflix Files: Would You Rather (Review)

This inaugural installment of “The Netflix Files” will be a summary following David Guy Levy’s Would You Rather. A cinematic expression of a childhood game twisted through the sadistic eyes of a presumed billionaire. Starring Brittany Snow as the main character (Iris), she has returned home to care for her cancer-riddled brother. When at the doctor’s office discussing payment for the medical bills, Mr. Shepard Lambrick (Jeffrey Combs) presents an opportunity almost too good to be true.

Invited to a dinner, Iris is told that she will be competing in a game with other opponents to try and earn the much-needed money for her brother. While eating dinner, Iris (a vegetarian) makes a point of not being able to eat the steak. This provides Lambrick with the first opportunity for money, offering her $10,000 to eat the steak. She does so, this point in the movie having two effects. One, Lambrick shows that he will push the guests’ weaknesses in the game. Two, provides a wonderful social commentary on how money can cause someone to rid themselves of habits they have desperately instilled over the years.

As the game begins, the eight players are pinned against each other with fifteen or thirty seconds to make a decision. Ranging from electrocuting themselves or an opponent to stabbing one person or whipping another. Through the game and an attempted escape, four of the eight competitors are eventually unable to continue the game. A subsequent defining moment for the movie then comes with four people left. They have the decision between choosing an unknown punishment in an envelope, or being held under water for two minutes. Three of the four choose the unknown punishment, while one (Iris) picks the water. Two of the four guests no longer competing after this round. This spot in the movie has two major points. One (within the movie), Lambrick reflects upon how the competitors could have chosen their known fate of life and dealt with their issues, or take the unknown path and try to earn money to do away with their problems. Even after choosing the unknown to start, the majority of the people still chose the unknown punishment. These punishments proving lethal, foreshadow a moment at the end of the movie. Secondly, it speaks to a natural tendency that the grass will always be greener. Rather than embracing what we have, we always want the next best thing.

In the end Iris is able to return home, but finds her brother dead on his bed. After risking her life, it proved to be all for not. She could have stayed with him and known he’d be okay, or take an unknown night away from him and pay the consequences. So, next time someone presents you with an opportunity to appreciate what you have, or blindly risk everything you have; which Would You Rather?

*Image Credit to Periscope Entertainment and Social Construct

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