It's a trap!
Charley Palmer Rothwell is a strange casting choice. He looks depressed and I’m not sure why he would do it on purpose. The script calls for an uplifting first act, considering he and Roxane Mesquida’s character are heading up to an escape game. So, what is it Play or Die has to offer that we haven’t seen a dozen times this last decade? Are we overdoing the escape game, yet?
This story evolves the way any claustrocore horror movie would, but with the premise that “it’s all a game”. The two protagonists suspect there’s something wrong with this game, thirty minutes in, but it takes a while for the horror to kick in. Jacques Kluger, director and co-writer, really made the most of his environment. He took a manor and turned it into hell on earth.
Play or Die doesn’t always have the best poker hand. Passed the halfway mark, it tends to break character. That half-ass procedural; didn’t buy it. When it turns into torture porn, this film fails to deliver on its premise. I had a good time with this. It’s dynamic, well-shot; the gore looks painful. Whatever budget this film had, it made the most of. That said, it took a dump on the third act.