Survival games are in vogue, and why not? Last year, the entire planet became engrossed in one of the most powerful media phenomenons of the 21st century. Squid Game became the most-watched show on Netflix. People from around the world became ready to participate vicariously in the game, choosing sides and betting on the winner as if it was something that was happening in real life. People love gaming, so when Dangerous Game: The Legacy Murders appears as a new proposal for the genre, we also get interested in it.
Dangerous Game: The Legacy Murders is a film directed by Sean McNamara and stars Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Will Sasso, Jon Voight, Laura Mennell, and Megan Charpentier. The film tells the story of a family reunion organized by a frightening patriarch as he tries to teach his children and their families a lesson. The lesson is attached to their family history and involves a deadly game where only one person can survive and keep on a legacy that involves fame and fortune.
From the moment Dangerous Game: The Legacy Murders starts its runtime, you can feel that there is something very familiar about the premise and the way it is presented. We have seen movies like this one before, especially the recent Ready or Not and, of course, the very successful Knives Out. Put a family that hates each other in a big mansion with weapons and deadly rooms, and you have a recipe for disaster. Dangerous Game: The Legacy Murders isn’t as good as those movies, but it is still fun and serves as a good watch this Halloween season.
The movie takes many aesthetic elements from the previously mentioned movies. Still, it also takes a lot when it comes to developing the characters and introduce them into the narrative. You have to watch Knives Out and then this movie to see the similarities. However, Dangerous Game: The Legacy Murders manages to stand out thanks to its tone. The movie feels very close in tone to Ready or Not, as it presents itself as a very bloody movie with a very dark sense of humor.
And oh boy! Things do get darker as the movie progresses. There are some great kills here, and seeing the family core just destroy itself is quite gruesome and sad at the same time. It is also funny if your sense of humor goes in that direction, and it all culminates in one of the darkest endings I have ever seen in a movie this year. Is this a great movie? Not really, but the movie does achieve something that many other films wish they could be, entertaining.
The movie is also just about 90 minutes long, which is an easy compromise when it comes to time investment. You can watch this one night before going to sleep, and you won’t even have to sacrifice much sleep. Dangerous Game: The Legacy Murders goes fast and hard. This breakneck pacing helps the audience always be on the alert for what is happening and never really stop and question the premise or the characters’ decisions. If you stop and do that, then the movie falls apart very quickly.
The absurd of the premise is a plus, really, as you are thrown into a situation that is made to push the characters to their limits, and this, of course, creates great drama. However, while the pacing and the tone are pluses, some other elements in the movie feel quite half-baked. The worst thing in the movie could be the acting. We have some really solid actors in the cast, but most of them are just chewing the scenery out of control, and their reaction to almost everything feels too exaggerated to be real.
Maybe this over-the-top acting is part of the absurd tone the movie tries to convey. However, at some point, the bad acting takes you away from what could be a very serious moment with a lot of gravitas and transform it into something much less potent. The line delivery at points feels atrocious, making you wonder if it is just a bad line read or a conscious decision. It is weird, but not in a good way. Watching the actors taking such a premise more seriously could have been even funnier than it was.
In the end, Dangerous Game: The Legacy Murders comes off not as an excellent movie but as a fun watch that serves very much the mood that permeates everything during the Halloween season. This might not become a classic that you can watch over and over again. The movie isn’t trying to be high art or sophisticated enough to require multiple viewings. Nevertheless, it is a fun one-time-only watch and a good way to spend 90 minutes during this Halloween month.