Play or Die (2019) Movie Review

Director: Jacques Kluger

Writer: Amiel Bartana, Jacques Kluger (Screenplay) Franck Thilliez (Novel)

Starring: Charley Palmer Rothwell, Rozane Mesquida, Marie Zabukovec, Thomas Mustin, Daphne Huynh

Plot: Welcome to Paranoia, the ultimate escape game. Rule #1: Nothing is real. Rule #2: One of you will die. Lucas and Chloe, two passionate gamers, decide to participate to Paranoia, a very exclusive escape game. After solving a first riddle, they make it to the location of the finale in an abandoned mental hospital, lost in a frightening forest. There, four other participants are waiting on them. They soon realize that only one of them will get out of there alive.

Runtime: 1 Hour 29 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Basic Escape Room Film

Story: Play or Die starts as Chloe (Mesquida) returns to the life of Lucas (Rothwell) in an attempt to work together for an ultimate escape room, one that only the smartest people can discover to even have the chance to play in, they do locate this game and are joined with Naomi (Zabukovec), Jablowski (Mustin), Maxine (Huynh) and Ray (Pourcques), learning the strict rules they must play by in Paranoia.

As the game begins, it quickly becomes more deadly that Chloe of Lucas predicted, as the other contestants end up dead, the race to escape is on, leaving it to the pair to figure out the best way out.

Thoughts on Play or Die

Characters – Lucas is the smartest of the players, he ability to crack codes makes him an asset during the game, he is filled with his own grief, which has seen him close off from the world, but a chance to work with Chloe on a game they worked so hard on before brings him out of his shell. Chloe returns to Lucas’ life wanting to get him to complete the game, she has her way to make this possible and the two-start working together for the first time in years. We do have other players in the game, most fill the generic ideas we have seen in these type of films before.

PerformancesThe performances in the film do struggle to make an impact, we have the social awkward one from Charley Palmer Rothwell, with Roxane Mesquida doing the basics in the ex-girlfriend role. Nobody really stands out in this film, which leaves everything feeling flat.

StoryThe story here follows two ex-lovers that agree to take part in an elite escape room, for players too advance for the everyday one, only for the game to turn a lot deadlier. This is another story that dives into the idea of escape rooms having a horror side, even though it ends up playing out more like a Saw movie, without any of the scares, character development or anything being as interesting as it believes it is. This story does feel flat and seems to be more centred around one character, rather than anyone involved in the game, which ends up making things feeling more confusing that interesting.

Horror/MysteryThe horror in this film feels flat, we don’t get any real scares, we get moments that involved torture or just finding a dead body, not even giving us a mystery about how the game works.

SettingsThe film is set in one location, which seems to have different problems in each room, ones that could well be the end for players involved in the film.


Scene of the Movie – The teeth scene at least feels horrific.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – That ending.

Final Thoughts This is a poor escape room-based movie that just ends up feeling flat and tries to hard to shock instead of building a story.

Overall: Flat horror.

ABC Film Challenge – Thriller – # – 2.22 (2017) Movie Review

Director: Paul Currie

Writer: Todd Stein, Nathan Parker (Screenplay)

Starring: Michiel Huisman, Teresa Palmer, Sam Reid, John Waters, Kerry Armstrong, Richard Davies

Plot: A man’s life is derailed when an ominous pattern of events repeats itself in exactly the same manner every day, ending at precisely 2:22 p.m.


Tagline – To save their future, he must fight his fate.

Runtime: 1 Hour 38 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Powerful Sci-Fi

Story: 2:22 starts as we meet the air traffic control team with Dylan (Huisman) who has just celebrated his 30th birthday, he can keep the planes in perfect timing until one day he freezes escaping with a close call. Dylan finds himself suspended and taking a chance on ballet tickets, which leads him to meet Sarah (Palmer).

Dylan and Sarah strike up a romance only Dylan is noticing a series of events happening in his life, with the time being the same every day, with an incident happening, as he goes in search of answers about these events.

Thoughts on 2:22

Characters – Dylan is an air traffic controller that has a genius about how he can judge the landings, he could be a pilot, he is trained, only he prefers his skills on the ground, until he makes a mistake, even though this mistakes leads him to Sarah, he starts to become paranoid about what is happening in his life, believing there is a pattern happening to him. Sarah works in the gallery, she meets Dylan by chance with the two falling in love, only her work is playing into the visions that Dylan is having. Jonas is the person that Sarah works for, he is considered one of the great artists in the land, his creation is what drives Dylan obsession for the truth.

PerformancesMichiel Huisman is great in the leading role, he plays the genius who might be paranoid with ease, while having the charming side for moments required. Teresa Palmer is great too as the love interest, while the rest of the cast do struggle to make the true impact on the story.

StoryThe story here follows one man that sees his life unravel after he starts noticing a pattern in his life and he goes in search for the truth before it is too late, which will see love play a major part in what he is fighting for. In this story we do get to see the concepts behind love being meant to be showing us how no matter what the plan is, you will find each other, you will also need to believe in the impossible which at times will only make you question the person you love the most. The story does play out over the idea something big is going to happen, only it doesn’t seem to imply just how long everything is running.

Mystery/Sci-FiThe mystery in this film comes from seeing just how Dylan is seeing thing repeating over and over, with him trying to put the pieces together, he does turn to the unknown of sci-fi for answers.

SettingsThe film uses the New York setting well showing first how hectic the airport would be and then just how you could meet people in such a busy city.


Scene of the Movie – Changing the pattern.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The timeline, how long have the two been together?

Final Thoughts This is a very entertaining sci-fi mystery that does keep us on edge and wants to play into everlasting love.

Overall: Strong Mystery Sci-Fi.