Die Reviews

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March 11, 2013
The synopsis makes this sound more interesting than it is. Turns out it's basically just a ripoff of several other horror movies, namely the Saw series, but with less blood and much less entertainment value. I'm actually not sure why I sat through the whole thing... background noise, I guess. It's not good for much more than that.
½ November 3, 2012
Interesting (but flawed) movie which attempts to be more philosophical than it is. Taking a lot of cues from Saw (but without the grotesque torture-porn qualities), Die presents a perspective of fate where the victims either live or die by rolling a numbered cube. This is a pun-tastic play on words, then, and I'm sure the idea of death by dice has been done before. But what both elevates--and limits--Die is the questionable philosophy presented. Somehow the people who survive become disciple-like converts to the philosophy. Which ends up feeling like a deus ex machina since there is no reasonable explanation presented as to WHY this weird twist on the Stockholm Syndrome. Without being believable, the whole movie suffers--while at the same time offering up it's best sense of horror as the scope of those who are disciples is presented.
½ May 31, 2012
Basically a rip-off of the Saw films, Die is a little more original than you think if you believe that its title refers to death--it's actually the singular form of dice! A modestly entertaining, but completely derivative film, Die finally manages to develop in somewhat interesting ways but it doesn't quite make up for the tedium of the scenes leading up to the finale.
September 15, 2014
Die has an admittedly cool title and could have been Saw without the manic gore, but its message about life appreciation is lost with its infuriatingly smug-ass villain who doesn't even have the decency to die.
July 30, 2013
Although no doubt inspired by Saw, this one takes itself too seriously when a group of strangers, each suicidal, are given an opportunity to "live again" by a man who rules his life by the roll of a die. Interesting premise and fantastic villain, but there's just not enough there to make you believe in his philosophy or even care about the fate of the characters.
½ March 27, 2013
Die (Dominic James, 2010)

There is an oddly compelling, at least to me, subgenre of torture porn that's come to the surface over the last couple of years where instead of the psychotic killer preying on the hapless victims a la Hostel or Turistas or Train or..., instead, the psychotic killer-who's-not-actually-a-killer throws the hapless victims into a room and forces them to do terrible things to each other in exchange for the possibility of winning their freedom. There have been some pretty solid movies along these lines (Nine Dead comes to mind), and of course there have been some awful ones (Vile, The Killing Room, etc.). Die, I am very pleased to report, is of the former camp. We start off with the very title of the film, which is a double-entendre; you can already tell, before you even open the case, that you're dealing with a writer and director (screenwriter Domenico Salvaggio has been James' partner in crime since their first short together, "Lotto 6/66") who are head and shoulders above a dozen Darren Lynn Bousmans or Marcus Dunstans. Then we get-hey!-moral dilemmas that are actually interesting, rather than a "script" that exists as nothing more than an excuse to showcase Rube Goldberg-esque ways of killing people. (In fact, the methods of death in this movie are quite mundane, which seems to have annoyed some folks on the IMDB boards. I thought that was a strength, rather than a weakness, since it kept the viewer's focus exactly where it should be.)

Plot: while I think this was supposed to be a spoiler, it's mentioned in the plot synopses at Netlifx and on the jacket copy. Six people, all of whom were considering, or were in the process of committing, suicide all wake up in some sort of large, dimly-lit room in hastily-constructed plexiglass cages. We have Lisa (Cosmopolis' Emily Hampshire), a compulsive blackjack player who's just lost her life savings. Zach (The Recruit's Karl Pruner), a psychiatrist. Robert (Transgression's Fabio Fulco), a philanthropist and motivational speaker who focuses on helping the clinically depressed. Melody (The Master's Katie Boland), a heroin-addicted teen. Diane (Sigma's Patricia McKenzie), a nurse. And, most importantly-though no one in the room, including the person who brought them there, knows it-Mark (Crash's Elias Koteas), a cop who's seen, and done, far too much to want to continue living. He's important because his disappearance causes his partner, Sofia Valenti (Casino Royale's Caterina Murino), to start connecting the dots that lead to Jacob Odessa (Drive's John Pyper-Ferguson), the man who kidnapped them-and who now pits them against one another, forcing each to use their own method of attempting suicide on one of the others, with the possible lethality determined by the roll of a die. As an example, in the first encounter, Mark, who being a cop was planning on swallowing his revolver, is the game's aggressor, and Robert is the victim. Odessa forces Mark to roll the die; the number that comes up is the number of chambers which will contain bullets in the modified Russian roulette Jacob has them playing. If the hammer doesn't fall on a chamber with a bullet, Robert walks away. If it does, he dies.

The moral underpinning of the story, obviously, is right out of the first Saw film; Jigsaw's aim, too, in the early days was to take those who felt their lives had no meaning and teach them the value of living. Such is also Odessa's goal, and his means of achieving it are more mundane, less showy. As I said before, to me, that makes for a stronger work; the audience spends less time waiting for "he doesn't want us to saw through the chain, he wants us to saw through our ankles!", and forgetting that the rest of the movie is actually way more interesting. (After all, if they hadn't forgotten that, all seven Saw-franchise movies might actually be well-plotted, well-acted, tense mysteries, rather than movies two through seven going down in infamy as the franchise that started the torture porn movement.) Add to this that James found himself with an exceptional cast, and while he doesn't coax career-best performances out of any of the folks here, the cast handles themselves as well as the cast of Nine Dead did, and that's good enough for yours truly. As many have pointed out, yes, the end of the film is kind of ridiculous and does drag the entire thing down a notch, and there are some really, really weird oversights in the script that I can't help but wonder why no one caught. Still, I was willing to overlook those problems, given how much better this movie is overall than pieces of crap like Vile that tried to tread the same ground and made a dog's dinner of it. I had a great deal of fun with this movie, and I think if you're willing to forgive it some of its odder peccadilloes, you will as well. *** 1/2
November 11, 2012
Yet another movie with an interesting premise that doesn't live up to expectations. I went in think it would be Saw-like, but instead of action or horror, it was drawn out and mostly boring with unlikable and unsympathetic characters. In the end, I really didn't care if they lived or died.
October 19, 2012
kind of like saw but not as bloody
½ May 19, 2012
This greatly resembles the "Saw" movies. It has a lot more character, but not as much guilty fun.
½ May 7, 2012
I liked this one more than I thought I would. Great twist on the 'sadistic captor' story line. Using the failings of one to judge another was very clever and the focus was on the psychological aspect more than just mindless, graphic gore-porn. Plot ran thin a few times, but it was easy to overlook to allow the narrative to weave between the characters.
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