There’s one big problem that has infected a lot of horror these days – cheap budgets, horrible scripts and even worse acting. But that’s what horror is god damn it I hear the cheap seats cry out, and yes you’re kinda right. But if you’re doing it cheap and nasty then the whole film needs to cry out exactly what it is, a video nasty. If you’re doing it cheap and nasty and want to be taken seriously then it’s a much harder task and more often than not it doesn’t work.
A Serbian Film basically pushed the boundary as far as it could go for a nasty horror. It is tasteless, unbearable gore that basically aims to offend everyone but what it can’t be accused of is poor filmmaking – the set pieces are great and it’s a lesson in successful production alone. Antichrist is another example of a good horror film that defies conventions. The Human Centipede 2, for all its faults, wasn’t all that bad by the end (the lead being one of the greatest).
Choose, however, doesn’t aim to be the goriest nor the most shocking either. There’s no psychological horror to speak of either. No, all it wants to do is tick every clichéd box possible and serve up a product that reeks of every other film before it. The video nasties did this but they did it well. Their agenda was brutality and out-doing the other releases. This just comes across as a bad, very long episode of CSI.
Director Marcus Graves is more than satisfied with his horrible cast and even worse script that doesn’t help the actors any more than their acting here. Hot attractive lead we’re introduced to when she’s not wearing a bra in the cold? Check. Dialogue that ensures even the dumbest viewer understands what’s doing on? Check. Characters making dumb predictable decisions that will lead to their deserved death? Check check check. A cast led by Katheryn Winnick (Love and Other Drugs) and Bruce Dern (Big Love)
Everything about this film smacks of the 70s/80s but in a bad, bad way. Here we’re supposed to be amazed by a killer that makes you choose between two things that you equally love (e.g. a pianist is forced to choose between losing his hearing or his fingers) so cue a dumb jock turning it into an offensive sexist joke because the lead is a female.
The catch here is apparently the murderers father made his mother choose between him or his sister. That sucks, sure, but that doesn’t give him a reason for killing everyone else! Seriously, this is the kind of idea that would be good for a short story or the bin.
If there’s anything to like about the film, the murder scenes are occasionally well done, in a they-must-watch-a-lot-of-cop-shows way. And Kevin Pollack makes an appearance as the Loveable Cop Father, not that it’s a reason to see it.
Choose not to see it (I couldn’t resist).
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Directed: Marcus Graves
Written by: Brandon Camp, Mike Thompson
Starring: Katheryn Winnick, Kevin Pollak and Nicholas Tucci
Choose is available on DVD and Blu Ray from 27th June.