Jeffrey Combs Plays a Twisted Game in Would You Rather (2012)

To say that I am slightly obsessed with the many films of horror god Jeffrey Combs is, admittedly, putting it lightly. Few actors are as truly gifted and tragically underrated as the prolific star of such classic as Re-Animator, From Beyond and The Frighteners (which is my personal favorite Combs performance…although whether or not this one is a classic is up for debate). Heck, even my two oldest kids know and love Combs as Herbert West (my son even aspires to be him…I’m totally not gonna even worry about that for a few years though), not to mention his voice work as H.P. Hatecraft in Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated.

Would You Rather, the first full length feature by director David Guy Levy, is a unique experience however, as it’s the first time I’ve ever wanted to punch Combs’ character square in the face, and undoubtedly you will too.

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Combs plays Shepard Lambrick, a remorseless, sadistic aristocrat who uses his wealth to tempt a group of less fortunate people into playing a fucked up game of Would You Rather. Unlike the version we played as children however, Lambrick doesn’t give his guests the choice of eating a worm or swallowing a raw egg, instead the trapped and desperate participants are given the options of slicing open their eyes or igniting a firecracker in their hand or even stabbing each other…all for the amusement of one crazy rich asshole and his anemic looking, attempted rapist son (a suitably despicable Robin Lord Taylor).

And oh my gawd does Jeffrey Combs play a mean asshole, I could barely stop myself from growling every time he was on screen….and that’s fucking AWESOME! A villain is supposed to get a rise out of you, and Combs does more than just that, his smug smile and condescending manner will pretty much make you wanna kick the shit outta Shepard Lambrick until he spits blood.

If you consider how much I love Jeffrey Combs, the feeling is pretty unreal.

…moving on.

All the characters are unique enough and seem to have their own rhyme and reason for being at Lambrick’s morbid soiree, but the storyline mainly revolves around sweet young Iris (Brittany Snow). Iris is a girl with a big problem, funds are scarce and her sweet-faced younger brother is in dire need of a marrow/blood/brain transplant and things are looking rather grim. So when the opportunity arises to make a substantial chunk of cash for attending a fancy dinner party, wide eyed Iris jumps at the chance.

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Side Note: Seriously? What the bloody fuck people, does no one in movieland watch horror movies…or any other types of movies? Listen, life hasn’t always been easy, so I do understand desperation, but goddamn it, desperate shouldn’t equal stupid. You know what would be cool? If for once one of these characters expected to get screwed instead of walking into these situations blind and clueless. Fuck, surprise the audience and have someone show up in a bulletproof vest brandishing a chainsaw, now that would be interesting.

Suffice to say the entire dinner party arrives with their heads firmly planted up their asses, but the game begins quickly enough, and boy does Would You Rather become unnerving in no time. I don’t know about anyone else, but I did find myself squirming in my seat more than once while waiting to see what Lambrick would dream up next to test the limits of his captives. It also made me wonder if the filthy rich really do get away with this type of fucked up shit in real life…and what a fucked up world we live in if they actually do.

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Now, good stuff aside, Would You Rather plays it a little too fast and loose for my liking, and the few twists that are meant to add to the tension unfortunately fall flat and distract from the story. It isn’t a bad movie, not at all, it’s just not a great one…which is such a bummer really because there was so much potential and so much Jeffrey Combs.

Still, I can’t say that this flick isn’t worth watching, it’s a fun, if somewhat predictable, gruesome little horror film with enough talent in the cast (standouts being: Sasha Grey, Eddie Steeples and Robb Wells of Trailer Park Boys fame) to pull it through the rough patches. So take a look at a fairly tame clip from the movie and see if you’re intrigued enough to check out Would You Rather, which incidentally is currently streaming on Netflix.

Let me know what you thought of this movie horror fans, and as always, give a girl some love and click that Like button 😉

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