Have you ever had one of those days where you can’t make a decision? Should I wear blue jeans or khakis? Short sleeve or long sleeve? Would I rather lose my fingers or my hearing? These are the conundrums proposed by the killer in Marcus Graves’ “Choose.” OK, maybe just the last of those.
It is apparent that original movie ideas are hard to come by these days. Almost every movie churned out by Hollywood is a remake, reboot or sequel and it grows tiresome. This is the reason that the mash-up genre is such a breath of fresh air. You take one part monster movie and one part found footage, you get “Cloverfield.” Two parts horror and one part comedy, you get a classic like “An American Werewolf in London.” If you don’t get that recipe just right, you end up with a confusing, disjointed movie like “Choose.”
“Choose” starts when a teenage girl is held captive by a hooded figure and given a choice. She has a minute to choose either a single member of her family to die or for everyone to die. Although this is the film’s strongest scene, as soon as viewers hear the sadistic ultimatum, their minds will almost certainly go to “Saw.”
The girl sadly realizes that every choice has ramifications, and the game becomes even more sadistic. The story then shifts to journalism student Fiona Wagner (Katheryn Winnick). With the anniversary of her mother’s suicide looming over her head, Fiona and her father (Kevin Pollak), the chief of police, are dragged into a deadly game of cat and mouse where they learn that everyone’s decisions have ramifications.
Winnick is enjoyable as Fiona, bringing something to a character that could have easily come off as cliché and flat. Pollak was on par with most of his performances. He plays a quiet and brooding character so well. Unfortunately, beyond these two performances everyone is flat and boring, but the actors can’t be blamed.
The story is the biggest problem with this movie. Instead of trying to mash two genres together and create something new, it just rehashes scenes from a couple of horror movies and falls flat. The fact that the killer gives his or her victims a deadly ultimatum makes them come off more as a Jigsaw ripoff than someone new and terrifying. At least Jigsaw had a purpose behind the people he picked.
Whatever stride the story finds after its first 20 minutes goes totally off the deep end in the third act. Once you find out the killer’s identity, it is something totally out of left field and feels way too familiar. I am a huge believer that the ending is what makes or breaks a movie and the ending definitely breaks “Choose.” Without giving any spoilers, the ending feels as though the writer thought, “Hey, if that ending worked for them, it could work for me.”