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Roll 'em!

Rod Lott March 19th, 2012

From our friends up north — Canada, not Kansas — comes Die, a nearly gore-free take on the rules of Saw. Three decades after his father forces him to roll a die and then fatally shoots himself in the head, a madman named Jacob (John Pyper-Ferguson, Tekken) goes on a mission to teach six clinically depressed people the value of life.


Awaking in adjoining glass cages are those unlucky half-dozen strangers: a police detective (Elias Koteas, A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas), a compulsive gambler, a doctor, a nurse, a young prostitute and her billionaire client.

Jacob takes turns bringing them out in pairs; one is strapped to a chair, the other presented with a simple six-sided die. The roll of the die determines how many bullets go into a gun, how much drugs will be injected, how many minutes will be spent underwater, and so on. Each turn is a different sort of game, all with the same intent. Meanwhile, Koteas' partner, Caterina Munro (TV's Zen), investigates their sudden disappearances.

If you've seen a Saw sequel or any of many imitators, you get the idea. It's not a new one, but some filmmakers pull it off better than others, and director Dominic James falls on the positive side. If the ending lacks the punch it should, well, it's the guy's first feature, and bears such a nice polish that I'll cut it slack.

Having helmed a short titled Lotto 6/66, James clearly is attracted to twisted mind games; I only wish E1 Entertainment had been able to include that short for sake of thematic comparison. Instead, all you get is a one-minute trailer. And a better-than-average exercise in suspense. —Rod Lott

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