'Choose' Movie Review


As you may know by now, I'm a big fan of the horror movie mash-up. If, for example, someone wants to combine Godzilla and The Blair Witch Project into one new-fangled yet old-fashioned genre cocktail, you can be sure to find me at the box office. (The resulting film was Cloverfield, by the way.) Unfortunately, more often than not, the "let's smash horror movie X into horror movie Y" impulse is governed not by creativity or enthusiasm, but by plain old simplistic greed. Case in point: the truly generic Choose, which mixes horror-style kills and network-level procedural junk into one ungainly concoction. Kudos to those who make it to the wonderfully stupid ending.

A mean-spirited, witless, and howlingly amateurish amalgam of Saw and Seven (and yes, it's being released in 2011), Choose is about a crazed killer who makes his victims "choose" something horrific before killing them. A gorgeous model must choose between her eyesight or her face, and then she's burned to a crisp anyway. A pianist much choose between death and the loss of all his fingers, and then both happen anyway. The four or five garish and painfully contrived murder scenes are cribbed straight from the dank, dingy cells found in the lesser-known Saw knock-offs, and the "plot stuff" (which deals with a young woman's quest to discover who the Choose Killer is!) is one half Murder She Wrote and another half David Fincher's Seven, only as written by horny 15-year-old boys who get rejected by women a lot.

I'm not one to call "misogyny!" on a film lightly, but Choose does showcase a decidedly unpleasant predilection for insulting, abusing, and disposing of women. Much of the killer's dialogue sounds like foul-mouthed dirty talk from an angry adolescent, and the overall tone of the film seems to have some serious issues with women. Or perhaps I'm just reading too far in to a movie that has the money to hire cool actors like Bruce Dern and Kevin Pollak but not the creativity to give them something interesting to do. An army of affable character actors still couldn't save the film's deadly dull pacing, its stupidly predictable plot contortions, a strange affinity for letting dull scenes run twice as long as they should, and a lead actress (Katheryn Winnick) with a gorgeous face and nothing even remotely interesting to say.

Directed by a first-timer (Marcus Graves) who will certainly move on to better flicks, and written by two guys who should probably turn out better material (well, they wrote Dragonfly, anyway), Choose was slapped together with just enough nastiness and "edge" to fill a 90-second trailer. The film itself is as lazy, obvious, and tiresome as retreads get.