Choose (2011)

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Well, it happens. Great success always leads to a hundred and one pale imitations. The great success in this instance is the Saw franchise and Choose is one of the pale imitations.

There’s a, you’ll never guess, sadistic killer/torturer on the loose and his modus operandi is making his victims choose between two unpalatable options within a 60 second time limit. A young girl has to choose whether her mother or father dies, a musician has to choose between being made deaf or rendered unable to play again, etc. Hence the title. All of this talk of difficult choices makes young Fiona (Katheryn Winnick) start to question just whether or not her mother did commit suicide a number of years previously, leaving a note that emphasised how choices made always had an impact on loved ones. Fiona’s father, Sheriff Tom Wagner (Kevin Pollak), has no such thoughts running through his mind. He just wants his daughter to stay safe, something that becomes more and more difficult as the killer seems to want to communicate with her and open her eyes to the reason behind his grand plan.

Writers Brandon Camp and Mike Thompson obviously watched a number of Saw movies before diving in to their work on the screenplay. While it’s not the worst of the many films to try and emulate the formula of that franchise (it’s not as atrociously bad as Nine Dead, for example) it brings absolutely nothing new to the table and only serves, in it’s few decent moments, to remind you of better movies.

Director Marcus Graves, with his first feature, doesn’t do all that badly for a first-timer but is also just hampered with material that feels second-hand and uninspired from beginning to end.

Katheryn Winnick is simply okay in the lead role, nothing more and nothing less. Kevin Pollak is quite good as the standard, overprotective (with good reason) father. I guess it says a lot that it’s Alexi Wasser who stands out in the cast despite being onscreen for no more than a few minutes in total. Oh, a brief appearance from Bruce Dern is also a highlight.

There are a number of victims that you don’t care about, a connection between them all that once explained makes you wonder just how it took the police so long, numerous flaws/plotholes and an air of laziness about the whole endeavour that really isn’t good enough. Having said all that, the central idea is enough to provide some entertainment and elevate the film to the distinctly average as opposed to the truly awful.

DIRECTOR:MARCUS GRAVES
STARS: KATHERYN WINNICK, KEVIN POLLAK, BRUCE DERN, ALEXI WASSER
RUNTIME: 100 MINS APPROX
COUNTRY: USA

Film Rating: ★★½☆☆

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