Choose Or Die finale explained: how does the prize work?

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This article reveals the explained plot and the detailed events in the movie Toby Meakins’s Choose Or Die (Curs>r), revealing its meaning, symbols and storyline. We recommend you to read it only after watching the movie, and not before, in order to preserve the pleasure of the first vision.

Challenge to win
Challenge to win

Choose Or Die is the horror phenomenon released in April 2022, the first film directed by Toby Meakins. The film reflects the canons and expectations related to modern horror genre: some hard-to-see scenes, a plot that starts in a simple way and gets tangled as new elements are discovered, an effective soundtrack (by Liam Howlett, one of The Prodigy’s founders) and an open ending, which leaves room for a possible sequel (some even think of a Saw-style saga, given the various similarities).

The last part of the film has elements that can be confusing. Let’s try to explain here the ending and the elements in doubt, in order to complete the understanding of the film.

The explanation of the plot

In summary, the Curs> r game created in the 1980s manages to control the events of real life. Players make choices that become real events. The videogame always has a tendency to inflict pain and suffering on real people. Still, the main player can pass one level after another, and nothing happens to the player during the game. If they survive each level, others will suffer, but they will get closer to the end of the game.

How does the film explain this? This part is covered by the video that Kayla and Isaac see in the abandoned warehouse in New York. In that video Beck, the creator of the game, explains that the reality we live in is actually already cursed and is governed by those archaic symbols. It is therefore not the game that cursed reality: the world is already victim of a curse. Using the game, which operates through symbols that influence reality, the player can guide the curse. That’s why nothing ever happens to the main protagonists of the game during the film. The implications of this are explained in the film’s finale.

The ending of the movie

Choose or Die | Official Trailer | Netflix
Watch this video on YouTube.

After completing four levels of the game, including the one that will result in Isaac’s death, Kayla is directed to Hal’s house, the player seen in the opening scene of the film. It is clear to Kayla that he is the final boss to be defeated, which instead takes him by surprise (he’s also a player). In Hal’s house are his wife and son, victims of the first two levels of the game (his son has lost the tongue and an eye). Hal reveals to Kayla that the game promised him to leave him alone after two levels, if he started distributing it in multiple copies.

The fight between Kayla and Hal takes place in a particular way: to inflict pain on the other, they must rage on themselves. In the end, Kayla wins, even with the help of Hal’s wife, who wants to kill him for what he did to the family. Once Hal dies, his family reassures Kayla, telling her to leave and pretend she’s never been there, so as to escape possible investigations. Kayla’s cell phone confirms that the game is now complete. A cursor symbol is displayed on the mobile phone. Hal’s wife asks what it is, and Kayla replies: “This is the real prize.”

What is the prize for winning the game? The reward is the ability, gained as Kalya played, to use the game and guide the curse for one’s own benefit. Kayla thus does what the creator of the game did in the beginning: reprograms the game, using a keyboard built by her with which she masters the symbols of the curse. Kayla thus uses the game to consciously guide the curse, and her first target is Lance, the drug dealer who kept her mother and all the other tenants of the building where they live in check. This is the meaning of the phrase repeated by Kayla “sometimes the curse can be a gift”: if guided intentionally, as if Kayla were a deity living in this world, the curse can cause pain to others and make one’s life improve. “One life sacrificed so another can be saved” Indeed, the film shows Kayla’s mother getting better.

In the very last scene of the film, Kayla receives a call from Beck, who we discover is the head of Kismet, a dystopian company that controls work (Kayla worked for them as a cleaner) and the lives of others (in the film we discover a eviction notice for Kayla’s apartment with the Kismet header). It is therefore evident that the creator of Curs> r has obtained enormous benefits from the game over the years, causing so much suffering to others as his own life got better and better, until he controlled everything.

Beck tells Kayla, “You suffered and I prospered” (through what Kismet did to her family), “but somehow you managed to win my game. Who will suffer next?” In this way Beck clearly reveals that winning the game means being able to wield the curse to one’s advantage, as Kayla is already doing. That’s why the game always talks about “being a worthy player”, a kind of elect to manipulate the fate of the world, making others suffer instead of himself.

Kayla’s answer is open: “only people who deserve it” will suffer. This means that Kayla has no intention of stopping. And from the grudge that shines through in her response, it’s likely that Beck himself could become her next target.