I watched this via Netflix a few days ago, being a bit of a horror/thriller film fan from time to time I try a title I've never heard of, having watched this though I can't honestly say I wasn't missing much.
The basic bones of the film isn't highly original being a bit of a "Saw" rip off with a nod to "Hostel" here and there too, though the film has some violence it's nowhere near as graphics as those. The story is based around "Iris" (Brittany Snow) who is desperate to save her sick brother Raleigh (Logan Miller) but can't afford the cost of finding a suitable bone marrow donor.
Dr. Barden (Lawrence Gilliard, Jr.) who is treating Raleigh kindly introduces her to Shepard Lambrick (Jeffrey Combs) a sadistic minded millionaire who offers her the chance to "win" in the game he is hosting at his luxury house (Dr. Barden being a prior winner of the contest hence the introduction)
Of course Iris accepts and is picked up to have dinner at Lambrick''s House, here she meets other contestants and Lambrick's son who seems to enjoy the proceedings as much as his father does. Lamrick's party trick is to get people to do things they don't really want to, or disagree with by offering them money, firstly he gets a former alcoholic to have a drink, then Iris a vegetarian decides $10,000 is enough to eat a bit of meat the guests are served with.
Once the meal is over we find the guests are now part of a more sinister game but they have to make a choice from two options in each round. The game is designed to eliminate each player so that only one person is left, this is done with some rather cruel and painful ways and you get your usual couple of guests who try to escape and don't want to play.
So is it any good? Well not really partly because some of the acting is quite poor Jeffrey Combs overplays his part though bearable in places, Brittany Snow tries quite hard and I've seen worse acting. Some other cast members range from the acting skills of bit performers in obscure soaps, to didn't make the cut in the school play because they were just "that bad" very mixed here. Other problems mount up too, really you've seen it before and you know almost exactly what's coming, not in the details of the games but where the story is going you can see it a mile away.
So whilst the idea wasn't bad (I couldn't say it's amazing either but it might have made a reasonable film) it just doesn't really work. The ending is particularly disappointing in my view and could have been much more powerful
I can't really recommend the film it's not bad in a funny way, just bad in a poorly directed and written way. Evidently a sequel in on the way (sigh...)
on 16 April 2015
Iris (Brittany Snow) has a brother who needs a bone marrow transplant. The creepy Shepard Lambrick (Jeffrey Combs) offers to pay for it if she wins a game of a sadistic "would you rather," one that we quickly discover is played to the death. 8 people are assembled in a dining room and forced at gun point. Since Iris is the only person we know anything about, everyone but Scooby-Doo can figure this one out.
Amy, played by porn star Sasha Grey, is an aggressive player who immediately plays to win. Shepard has an obnoxious son (Robin Taylor) who insults the players.
There is a fairly decent intensity factor with this film, but it really doesn't stimulate the grey matter. The whole set up is rather inane. If you like the "ten little Indians" style movies with slasher elements, this one is satisfactory as long as you keep your expectations low. Perhaps 5 stars on a Red Box rental scale.
If you liked this film you might also like "Truth or Die" which I thought was superior.
Parental Guide: F-bomb, no sex or nudity. Attempted rape. Not an abundance of violence to women considering the plot.
on 3 March 2014
If you are not region free this blu ray from Ascot Elite is an option for region B users who cannot play the US version. Picture and sound quality are good as you would expect from a contemporary movie. At a couple of the more gory moments there are cut aways but as I haven't seen the American release I don't know if this is due to censorship.
The plot is similar in ways to titles like The Last Supper, Nine Dead and Shadow of Fear. A twisted rich businessman dupes a group of desperate people into attending a contest at his mansion They all have their own sets of issues and the contest winner will receive the required funds to change their lives forever. Of course the dares they are set are deadly with only the last man or woman standing collecting the prize. it's all a bit clichéd. An after dinner party for the Saw generation but Combes is watchable as the unhinged host.