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'Choose or Die': Netflix horror flick ' is ‘Archive 81’ meets 'Black Mirror’ via homicidal ‘80s video game

Choose or do not, and die!

By Vanessa Armstrong
Choose Or Die

Netflix has a new horror movie out called Choose or Die, and it will make you look at old 8-bit computer games in a whole new light. The film from director Toby Meakins revolves around a young woman named Kayla (Iola Evans) who starts playing an old ‘80s video game in hopes of winning an unclaimed $125,000 cash prize. The game, however, is terrifyingly more than it seems — ​​it’s able to alter reality, and it does so in some pretty gruesome ways.

Does this premise pique your interest? Check out the trailer below to get a gander at what the game has in store for poor Kayla and her friend Isaac (Sex Education’s Asa Butterfield). 

You might have also heard a familiar voice in the trailer portraying the movie’s antagonist — the evil video game called CURS>R. That voice is none other than Freddy Kreuger himself, Robert Englund

"There was a lot of debate on whether we should have used Robert Englund’s voice there,” Meakins said in a recent interview with Gamespot. “And it just felt so cool that we couldn’t not use it for that." 

Making a realistic 8-bit game capable of murder was also something Meakins and the rest of the crew worked hard to create on set. "You need the actors to play off something," said Meakins. "We had a tech op, a cool kid named Ted, who basically acted the game. So, when he typed something [it would appear on screen] in the game …Ted had his own kind of pinhole spy camera on the actor to see what they were doing. If we were shooting in an opposite direction or something, so he could make [CURS>R] cue with the actor. It became this incredibly complicated process."

The premise of a homicidal video game is still pretty out there, no matter how realistic the movie makes it. Evans addressed that for herself and for her character, Kayla, early on. “When I first read it, I was wondering, ‘What is it? How does this all work?’” she said in an interview with Digital Spy. “I was imagining: 'If it was me, and if this was real, how would I possibly begin to make sense of what was happening to me?’”

Evans squared it in her mind by looking at it from a more realistic perspective rather than something supernatural, approaching it as something like an incredibly modern algorithm that appeared to augment her character’s reality.

“It was all explained away by technology somehow — almost a bit Black Mirror-y, like just half a step forward from where we are now,” she explained. 

Supernatural or not, the movie looks like one that takes ‘80s nostalgia in terrifying directions, similar to what we saw in Archive 81, where a piece of decades-old media unravels something sinister. Choose or Die is now streaming on Netflix. And if you’re looking for other horrific things to watch as well, check out all the bloody good horror offerings over at Peacock