I found Play or Die (2019) in the neverending list of OnDemand choices. I’d never heard of it but had an idea of what it was about, a mix of Saw and Escape Room. It’s based on the novel Puzzle by Franck Thilliez and was directed and co-written by Jacques Kluger.

Play or DieIt begins with an uninterested Lucas behind the counter of a convenience store where he plays a video game. When he returns home, Chloé shows up and wants him to help her finish the puzzles from the game Paranoia. He doesn’t seem like he wants to play, but after she shows him a good time, he agrees.

The first steps of the game seem innocuous until they reach an abandoned mental hospital. When I came to this point in Play or Die, I wasn’t sure that I could finish as it was on the boring and predictable side. Even Lucas asking his mum if he could go out wasn’t enough for me.

I’m glad I didn’t turn it off, because I would’ve missed the great slasher-feeling this film offers with twists and turns that I didn’t expect. The flashes of Lucas’ backstory are troubling, and then when I learned the truth about everything, I was amazed that they’d kept it a secret as long as they did.

4 Stars

If you come across Play or Die, watch it, you won’t be disappointed. I give it 4 out of 5 Stars.

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