Would You Rather (2013)
Brief review: Debuted at last Fall's 'ScreamFest', but actually released this February, "Would You Rather" is a torture-esque horror thriller in the same vein as "Saw" films, but not as gruesome, and definitely not as pointless. "Would You Rather" actually wears the title of the nasty game the characters in the film are forced to complete in. It's a 'nasty' game, because in order to win it, they need to either hurt themselves, or one of the other strangers they've been trapped with. The fact that this tough dilemma affects not just the characters, but the viewers as well, makes the whole experience somewhat effective. On the other hand, you may find it hard to feel sympathy for most of the characters, since those are unlikable, and downright obnoxious. Thankfully, that can't be said for the protagonist, Iris, played wonderfully by Brittany Snow, whose character's charm, expressiveness and fragility will win you over. She basically saves the film from being poor. While far from terrifying, "Would You Rather" is certainly disturbing, and makes you wonder if rich people are actually capable of doing horrible things like this just for fun. "Hostel", anyone? Some of the torture scenes are difficult to watch and hard to sit through really, but at the same time not in-your-face graphic or gory. Since most of the movie takes place in a posh dining room, this pretty limited setting becomes a bit tiresome at some point, but the director compensates that with a grim, and shocking twist ending, that works perfectly fine.
Overall summary: The majority of the performances are questionable, and the sub-par execution leaves a lot to be desired, but "Would You Rather" is still a fairly original take on 'torture porn', with some truly nasty tricks up its sleeve, that will keep you entertained for 93 min.