Choose

Your choices define you, they have ramifications. You could, for example, choose not to watch this film. Certainly there are consequences to watching Choose. You will have to sit through 100 minutes of a sub-standard thriller, for one thing. You might possibly be entertained, although I suspect that depends upon your threshold for a.) gore, and b.) a good mystery. Choose offers very little of either.

A house invader ties up the mother and father of the house and forces the teenage daughter to choose which one will die. A concert pianist is offered a choice between losing his hearing or his fingers. A model must choose between her losing beauty or her eyesight. And student reporter Fiona Wagner (Katheryn Winnick), daughter of the local sheriff (Kevin Pollack), somehow finds herself dragged into the killer’s games. Thanks to the clues the killer hands her, Fiona succeeds in identifying the killer, but it takes a confrontation with him before he reveals his link to Fiona and her father.

There’s little mystery in Choose and, for those who like movies such as Saw, even less gore. This is a movie that’s light on both. Though Pollack plays a sheriff intent on discovering the identity of the killer, he does very little investigating. It’s his daughter who solves the mystery, and then only because the killer chats to her online and drops clues. One of which leads her to visit her college library for books on the philosophy of choice.

Except the three books handily left for her do not belong to the college library, they belong to the library of a juvenile detention centre closed down years before after accusations of abuse perpetrated by staff on inmates. This leads to a visit to Dr Ronald Pendleton (Bruce Dern), a psychologist who used some of the inmates in experiments on… choice. From there, it’s an easy step to determine the killer’s identity. Now all they have to do is catch him…

None of the cast in Choose are especially noteworthy, and the acting varies from serviceable to bad. The central conceit is handled with all the finesse of a shillelagh, and any commentary on choices and their ramifications is undone by the sheer predictable inevitability of the plot. This is apparently Marcus Graves’ first feature film, which might explain why Choose doesn’t even have the advantage of a singular vision. Throughout most of its length, it feels like a mishmash of other films – few of which were especially good in the first place. I say choose to avoid it.