Choose Or Die (2022)
Eddie Marsan and a working ZX Spectrum in the same room? Whatever next? It was his (Marsan's) fault I was watching this and he turned up early, hiding from his family in his mancave, with the oh so familiar sound of a Spectrum game loading in the background.
As soon as the opening credits started to roll, I was looking for Charlie Brooker's name, as it appears to have his signature technological sadism all over it. Not the case, it seems, as this is the 'first big thing' from Writer/Director Toby Meakins. He has a credited list of shorts as long as my arm, but this would appear to be his first feature as bossman.
AKA CURS>R, this made me wonder about its country of origin, starring Asa Butterfield, Iola Evans and an audio cameo from Robert Englund, but yet also featured Angela Griffin and the aforementioned Eddie Marsan.
Filmed in London, though it purports to be from elsewhere by the cinematography, this dark and occasionally comic horror relies, much like 'The Ring' on the distribution of media in order for the terror to spread. This time it's in the form of a retro computer game on cassette, with each unexpecting player becoming part of a game they cannot escape from, given choices which occur in real life to those they know, most often quite grisly.
"That is some fucked up shit."
You get the point. It's not too taxing on the grey matter and doesn't challenge you any further than to sit through it from beginning to end, which is actually not the trial it could easily have been. Butterfield and Evans are both engaging and good enough at their jobs to keep you interested and Meakins certainly creates scenes both cloying and intermittently immersive, even if ultimately there isn't too much to it overall. It's not completely original as highlighted above, but I would still pick this over Scream anytime.