If you wish to go to the current Fangoria site, you may click the top logo, "Home" or "News" links. Or click here.
From the way it’s being sold, CHOOSE (currently available
on-demand from IFC Films) comes off like the latest SAW derivative, but the
movie itself proves to be equally indebted to SE7EN. Needless to say, it’s not
as good as either.
“Whole town’s in a tizzy because there might be a madman on
the loose,” says Sheriff Tom Wagner (Kevin Pollak—really?)—this after three
people have fallen victim to a sadistic killer. Just like Jigsaw, this
black-clad figure subjects his victims to life-and-death choices, though the
voice with which he delivers these fateful instructions is decidedly less than
menacing. In an admittedly bravura opening sequence, a teenage girl is forced
to choose whether her mother or father will die—and to do the deed herself—or
else they’ll both be killed. By the time the malefactor gets around to a model
who’s forced to sacrifice either her eyesight or her looks, the SE7EN echoes
have gotten louder, and at this point the film abandons its torturous scenarios
to concentrate on a similar investigative plot.
Inevitably, Sheriff Tom and his cops are out-investigated by
his journalism-student daughter Fiona (Katheryn Winnick from AMUSEMENT and
SATAN’S LITTLE HELPER), who’s got a nose for the truth, a conveniently faulty
lock on her door and a long-dead mother whose suicide is equally inevitably
connected to the present-day crime spree. In fact, everything’s pretty much
inevitable in CHOOSE, because it plays as if writers/producers Brandon Camp and
Mike Thompson did a little on-line research on “choice therapy” and outdated
library bar-code systems, and plugged it into a screenwriting program called
Gritty Serial-Killer Plot 2.0. It’s giving nothing away to say that all the
victims are connected to each other as well as Fiona’s past (with these revelations,
the film becomes strongly reminiscent of UNTRACEABLE as well); that an
elaborate symbol will be left in blood at the crime scenes; that the trail
Fiona follows will lead to an elderly former doctor (Bruce Dern—really?) from a
now-abandoned psychiatric hospital; and that Sheriff Tom and his men will bust
down the door of the villain’s grotty, foul-smelling lair too late, after the
killer has vacated the premises.
There’s a familiar visual ring throughout the movie as well,
from the fetishistic title-sequence glimpses of the murderer’s preparations
through David Darby’s shadows-and-gloom cinematography. CHOOSE’s director of
record is one “Marcus Graves,” apparently a pseudonym for veteran visual FX
artist Robert Legato, whose credits include TITANIC and ARMAGEDDON and thus
evidently knew a disaster when he saw one. Well, OK, to be fair, the film isn’t
that terrible, but it is relentlessly unsurprising on both a narrative and
visual level, winds up with a conclusion that goes from disappointingly generic
to disappointingly silly and gives genre fans no reason to choose it over the
many screen predecessors it recalls.
JOIN OUR COMMUNITY AND BE THE FIRST TO KNOW ABOUT NEWS, CONTESTS, EVENTS AND MORE!
All contents © 2011 Fangoria Entertainment