Choose or Die ending explained

Choose or Die ending spoilers follow.

If you had to make people suffer in order for you to prosper, would you do it? That’s the premise at the heart of new Netflix horror Choose or Die.

Starring Iola Evans and sex education‘s Asa Butterfield, the movie sees broke college dropout Kayla (Evans) decides to play obscure 1980s computer game CURS>R in order to win the $125,000 prize.

But as her choices in the game start to have horrifying real-life consequences, Kayla needs to team up with her friend Isaac (Butterfield) to unlock the secret behind CURS>R before it’s too late…

It all builds up to a dark finale that offers no easy answers, so let’s delve into the ending of Choose or Die to explain how it all plays out. Major spoilers await if you haven’t seen the movie yet.

iola evans, asa butterfield, choose or die


Choose or Die ending explained

The movie’s cold open sees 1980s fanatic Hal (Eddie Marsan) play CURS>R, unaware what the deadly consequences will be for his wife and son. Faced with the choice of his tongue from her or her ears from her, Hal chooses his tongue from her and watches in horror as his wife cuts out his son’s tongue from her.

And that’s just Level 1. We see during the title sequence that Hal continues to face horrifying choices, until Level 3 gives him the option to make copies of the game to keep his family safe… “for now”.

One of those copies ends up at Isaac’s place where Kayla picks it up and, tempted by the prize and the chance to help her mother, she starts playing it that night. She’s unaware that CURS>R can affect reality, but after Level 1 ends with a waitress eating glass and Level 2 sees her mother chased by a giant rat, she realizes the mistake she’s made.

Before the third level kicks off (it always happens at 2am), Kayla asks for Isaac’s help to work out what the hell is happening. They spot some weird symbols in the game’s code which Isaac assumes is what help the game “interact with reality”, but a command prompt is missing.

iola evans, asa butterfield, choose or die


They can’t investigate further though as Level 3 starts and it takes Kayla back to the swimming pool where her brother drowned, something that she blames herself for. Confronted with the choice of saving her ‘brother’ and saving Isaac, Kayla avoids the game’s trick and saves Isaac.

The next day, Isaac tracks the game’s prize money phone number to an abandoned warehouse. There, they find a video tape of an experiment that Beck (Joe Bolland) carried out on March 12, 1984, revealing that CURS>R was an attempt to weaponise an ancient curse.

“Since we first discovered the curse, we’ve been unable to identify its origins or translate its exact meaning, but we know it has unusual properties. Its symbols seem to affect reality,” Beck explains in the tape.

“Their power has lain dormant for centuries, but the myth suggests whenever they’ve been used against a person or persons, they, well, they suffer. Pain, fear, trauma, and the more the cursed suffer, the more the curser benefits We’ve converted the original symbols into 8-bit equivalents, contained them within a simple horror game experience: choose or die.”

iola evans in choose or die


Beck’s experiment sees an unfortunate test subject play the game and be compelled to eat his arm. As he does so, a wound on Beck’s arm heals up at the same rate, leading him to conclude: “Sometimes, a curse can be a gift.”

A symbol that Kayla spots in the video is the missing command prompt that could unlock the mystery of the game. Before they can do anything though, CURS>R starts Level 4 early and forces Kayla to choose between rewinding or fast-forwarding Isaac. Whatever she chooses though, he’s a goner as a punishment for ‘cheating’ the game.

After Isaac dies, Kayla is told by the game to “beat the boss” and given the coordinates to Hal’s house we saw in the opening scene of the movie. When she arrives, it’s clear that Hal has continued playing the game as his family has a variety of covered-up injuries, and he fears that it was him who “woke it up.”

CURS>R pits Kayla and Hal against each other to crown the new “curser” in a twisted battle where any injuries inflicted on themselves end up affecting the other. Kayla manages to survive by drowning herself in the pool, meaning that it was actually Hal who drowned.

eddie marsan in choose or die


Kayla then receives the command prompt on her phone which means she can now control the curse in the same way Beck did. Her first victim of her is Lance (Ryan Gage), a drug dealer who had been dealing to her mother of her, and she soon receives a call from Beck who is now a successful tech CEO.

“You’ve suffered. I’ve prospered. Yet somehow you managed to beat my game. Tell me, who will suffer next?,” he asks, to which Kayla replies: “Only people who deserve it.”

While it’s unclear if Choose or Die will get a sequel, it’s an ambiguous ending that leaves you wondering just what Kayla will do next. Can she really use the curse for good like she plans to, or will it just corrupt her like it did Hal? It’s something that Iola Evans has been thinking about too.

“I’m certainly curious to see where it could go next, because I think it’s quite morally questionable for someone to take on the role of deciding who is worthy of suffering, and who is worthy of having their life improved at the cost of someone else’s suffering,” she told DigitalSpy.

“There’s some damage to Kayla, and she’s like an antihero at the end. There’s something about that which feels more exciting, that she’s kind of a vigilante who’s definitely in the right.”

Choose or Die is now available to watch on Netflix.

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