The haves exploiting the have-nots for their own twisted amusement reps the seed of a concept that never develops in the ineptly executed thriller “Would You Rather.” Generous viewers may assume producer-turned-director David Guy Levy’s second feature was intended as pitch-black comedy or torture-porn parody, despite ample evidence that the ludicrous situations, laughable dialogue and lamentable performances are all delivered with utmost sincerity. Results are simple-minded at best, contemptible at worst; most audiences would rather watch anything else.Eight strangers gather for a dinner party at the home of wealthy eccentric Shepard Lambrick (Jeffrey Combs), including plucky heroine Iris (Brittany Snow), who was promised untold riches and a life-saving medical operation for her sickly sibling if she simply plays and wins a mysterious competition. Although Levy and writer Steffen Schlachtenhaufen teasingly delay their reveal about the titular contest’s true stakes, it’s no shocker in a post-”Hunger Games” era. Thesping of the thinly sketched characters is largely forgettable, though Robin Lord Taylor proves notably awful as Lambrick’s spiteful son. Minimal gore will disappoint genre fans, the only conceivable customers for the pic’s increasingly tedious depravity.
An IFC Films release of the Lambrick Foundation presentation of a Periscope Entertainment production in association with Social Construct Films and Dreamher Prods. Produced by Zak Kilberg, Maura Anderson, David Guy Levy. Executive producers, Brittany Snow, Andre Royo, Morgan Conrad. Co-producers, Ivy Isenberg. Directed by David Guy Levy. Screenplay, Steffen Schlachtenhaufen.
Camera (color), Steven Capitano Calitri; editor, Josh Schaeffer; music, Daniel Hunt, Bardi Johannson; music supervisor, Howard Paar; production designer, Rene Sekula; art director, Chris Eckerdt; set decorator, Jenny Shields; costume designer, Kristen Anacker; sound, Brian Hawlk; stunt coordinator, Bobby C. King; associate producer, Gus Krieger, Hector Tinoco; assistant director, Josh Fruehling; casting, Ivy Isenberg, Geralyn Flood. Reviewed on DVD, West Hollywood, Feb. 13, 2013. Running time: 93 MIN.
Brittany Snow, Jeffrey Combs, Jonny Coyne, Lawrence Gilliard Jr., Enver Gjokaj, Sasha Grey, John Heard, Charlie Hofheimer, June Squibb, Eddie Steeples, Robin Lord Taylor.