Choose or Die is the latest original added to the 2022 Netflix movie schedule that is climbing the most-watched charts. It follows Kayla (lola Evans) as she must beat an 8-bit game called CURS>R or essentially die. Choose or Die is a horror film soaked in nostalgia with a unique take on love of the ‘80s and the obsession with an era. The Choose or Die ending leaves audiences with many questions, including, “What’s next?”
The movie lays out the story it wants to tell from the beginning and jumps right into the action. This gives us plenty to enjoy and also ponder. Let’s examine the Choose or Die ending and some of the film’s overall themes and message.
What Happened At The End Of Choose Or Die?
Kayla and Isaac (Asa Butterfield) find a way to cheat the system. They use CURS>R’s dial tones to track the game to a warehouse. They find a video that explains how the game originated from its creator, Beck (Joe Bolland). The game then takes over the video and repeats Isaac’s words about cheating back to him.
It makes Kayla choose whether to rewind or fast forward the tape. Every time she makes a choice, it pulls film tape out of Isaac - forcing her to kill him. Isaac tells her to go ahead. She apologizes, but he dies. This round is complete and now Kayla must face the big boss.
She’s given coordinates that lead her to Hal's (Eddie Marsan) house and family. Hal’s wife and son are now disfigured because of Hal’s game choices. They are also living in terror of him. Hal shares with Kayla that the game made him make copies and distribute them.
Kayla and Hal then engage in an all-out battle - but with a twist. They can only hurt each other by hurting themselves. Hal’s wife and son get involved. They try to help Kayla kill Hal, but he manages to slit his throat, which means Kayla’s throat is slit.
She falls into the water and drowns herself, which drowns Hal. Hal’s wife helps Kayla and treats her wounds. Later, we see Kayla putting the code to the game into her computer and sending it as a text to Lance (Ryan Gage).
He agrees to pay $20 and she kills him. Beck calls Kayla and she says she is going to use the game to hurt people who deserve it.
What Does Kayla Win In Choose Or Die?
Immediately, Choose or Die establishes Kayla as the final girl. This goes against what viewers probably come into Choose or Die expecting. The film establishes Isaac as the quintessential ‘80s fanboy, so you assume this will be his story. As the story progresses, Kayla must go from victim to hero.
Kayla is not only a victim to this game, but her situation in general. She had to quit college to help take care of her mother, who's an addict and still grieving the loss of her son. Kayla also finds herself unable to climb out of poverty because the job market isn’t making life easier for her.
In an interview with ScifiNow, director Toby Meakins and screenwriter Simon Allen spoke about their decision to make a horror film, and said this about its political commentary:
Kayla finds herself in an impossible situation because the game is terrorizing her, and the way society makes it hard for her to thrive financially and personally. When Kayla wins the game, she wins freedom. She knows because of Beck’s video that the game feeds on the pain of others. It then rewards the game masters by healing them.
It heals physically and in all aspects of life that needs healing. She becomes the game master and wants to use it to hurt those who she feels deserve to be hurt. This means that as long as she hurts others, her life will be what she wants it to be. From Kayla’s perspective, she’s becoming a hero.
She hears Isaac’s voice about using her powers for good (from a previous conversation about him designing his game’s hero after her). Morally, Kayla is not exactly a hero because she’s killing people and largely doing it to help herself. However, viewers can’t help but empathize with Kayla, especially after all that she’s endured.
The Price Of Nostalgia In The Film
Choose or Die is full of references to some of the best ‘80s movies, from Robert Englund’s voice cameo to posters of ‘80s movies like A Nightmare on Elm Street hanging in Isaac’s bedroom. Kayla herself dresses and looks like a ‘80s horror movie heroine. The film pays tribute to ‘80s nostalgia, but unlike films such as Ready Player One that embrace nostalgia, Choose or Die gives it a middle finger.
One of the best scenes during the Choose or Die ending is when Kayla tells Hal, “fuck the ‘80s.” He becomes enraged and perplexed by her disdain for an era that he loves so much. Hal starts the film as this ‘80s fanboy who doesn’t connect with his family because he’s so wrapped up in worshipping the decade.
By the end of the film, he’s the main villain. It’s his toxic love for the ‘80s that allows him to grow into this villain character. He lives in the past. Instead of coming into the future and embracing the new generation, he scorns it.
In the same ScifiNow interview, Simon Allen discusses the importance of the “fuck the 80s” statement:
Is Choose or Die Setting Up A Franchise?
The Choose or Die ending left room for the story to continue. It ends with Kayla on a mission to use CURS>R to bring vengeance on those whom she deems deserving of it. The film could easily make a sequel about Kayla’s new life as the CURS>R game master. Additionally, the Choose or Die ending states that Hal has made and distributed copies of the game. Therefore, there were already other people playing the game beyond Kayla.
A sequel could follow another heroine who finds a copy of CURS>R. Beck also shares that the origins of the curse is unknown. It could take the route of some of the best horror movie franchises by having a film that explores the origin of the curse that powers CURS>R.
Netflix has made sequels before of its popular films, including one of the horror comedy The Babysitter (which could even become a trilogy). The Choose or Die ending leaves room for more films, but we’re not sure if it’s popular enough for Netflix to consider a sequel.
The film is fun but may be better as a one and done movie. However, if Netflix and the film’s crew decide to make more CURS>R films, there is plenty of material for future movies.
Netflix is still dipping its toes in the original horror movie world, but Choose or Die is a fun entry for the streaming giant. It’ll be interesting to see what Netflix makes next, and if the Choose or Die ending is just the beginning of CURS>R’s story.
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Spent most of my life in various parts of Illinois, including attending college in Evanston. I have been a life long lover of pop culture, especially television, turned that passion into writing about all things entertainment related. When I'm not writing about pop culture, I can be found channeling Gordon Ramsay by kicking people out the kitchen.