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Audrey E., here…
A resurgence of the 1990s is happening and Hollywood seems to be taking notice with ‘Game of Death,’ a Canadian horror film that opens with bright, pixilated credits – an homage to the decade’s early style of gaming. In a surreal turn of events, a group of seven unlucky millennials: Tom (Sam Earle), Beth (Victoria Diamond), Ashley (Emelia Hellman), Mary-ann (Catherine Saindon), Tyler (Erniel Baez), Kenny (Nick Serino) & Matthew (Thomas Vallieres) after a summer afternoon of drinking and drugs in a pool house, unwillingly become slaves to a board game that, just like ‘Jumanji‘ (can we pretend like the 2017 remake isn’t happening, by the way?), won’t let you quit until it’s finished.
After placing their fingers on a ray of skulls, the group is pricked for blood, linking them together. ‘Make a choice, you or I;’ the golden rules demand, ‘Without decision – one will die!’ Clearly shaken, but playing off their fright, they decide to abandon the game by stepping outside to continue their partying. But shortly after the group’s fear is validated. They begin to realize the diabolic game is real, the countdown is ticking, and the first of many bloodbaths has only just begun.
Director Sebastien Landry hashes together an interesting concoction of both home footage and cinematic imagery, creating an insight into the characters’ former selves before their true ‘id’ is revealed. In one of the stand-out scenes, we find a hysterical girl, sitting in the backseat of their escape vehicle, a clear view of the road behind her. Cleverly, an argument between her fellow fugitives is happening over both her right and left shoulders, in sync with the personal torture and dilemma of ‘kill or be killed’ racing through all of their heads.
Pay close attention, too. There are a slew of easter eggs and foreshadowing clues, which tie in nicely to the film’s gaming theme. It’s disturbing how quickly desensitized the people become, justifying their kills and comparing their situation at hand to their recreational video games.
‘Game of Death‘ is a vibrant and sinister thrill-ride – a board game ‘Battle Royale!’ It’s artfully shot, oozing with a nice fusion of comedy and horror. One thing is for sure, this movie will make you think twice before dusting off that old game tucked away in the closet. Player beware: you’re in for a scare!