Debut horror film from Bob Giordano, The Odds sees a woman with a troublesome past agreeing on a mysterious game that could earn her one million dollars.
What The Player (Abbi Butler) must do to win is endure 7 rounds of unknown challenges performed by The Game Master (James Fuertes). Obviously, these shady challenges consist of psychological and physical torture: each one of them is more meanspirited than the previous one. The Player must resist more than the other 19 players who’re part of the game all over the world. If she achieves that, she can walk out with the money. However, besides these hardcore rounds, she starts to discover something fishy about The Game Master, who allegedly would only receive orders and make sure The Player follows them.
Continue reading and check my final grade below…
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My review is also available on IMDb – The Odds (2019)
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Despite being extremely low-budget and made by a first-time director, I decided to give The Odds a chance because the movie was quite well-received at a few small festivals where it premiered last year. Also, if you go on the movie’s IMDb page and scroll through the comments, you’ll see that the film was given either very high or very low scores. This leads me to believe that most positive reviews are fake, given by friends of the actors or cast and crew themselves.
Although this is clearly a low blow, instant “not-cool factor”, The Odds isn’t as bad as many people say. I mean: I probably wouldn’t recommend it, it isn’t very well-made, but there are elements of quality that balance the negatives. Let’s see.
The biggest achievement from writer/director Bob Giordano is that he understands budget restraints. This is one of the cheapest movies I’ve ever seen, it probably had barely any budget, so the director decided to craft a story that revolves around two characters engaging in a psychological duel and takes place in a single, dark and shady location.
This concept, together with solid performances by the actors, really works and makes the audience forget they’re watching an ultra-cheap production. The Odds, also, starts as soon as The Player is brought to the secluded location: this gives the movie the opportunity to skip over the usual introductory part and immerse the viewer in the story from the perspective of The Player. It’s a smart decision that both shows understanding of the budget and enhances the tension.
In fact, this film isn’t scary in the traditional sense, but it manages to create a dreadful atmosphere from the get-go and makes the viewer wonder what’s going to happen next. The almost tangible tension is helped by the use of what seems to be natural lighting and the great audio design: the actual music is used sparingly, and the silent of the room – only broken by water dripping from the ceiling – turns the watching experience into a claustrophobic stressful test.
Now, these elements would make for a good, intense watch in many movies. However, The Odds is stretched out over the course of 105 minutes. It’s an unnecessarily long runtime that only leaves room for dead air, dull moments, too long shots that don’t implement the story in any way. Because of the lack of interesting cinematography and camera-work (every dialogue scene is just shot-reverse-shot), watching The Odds becomes very quickly a tiresome and extremely repetitive experience.
The runtime is really the biggest flaw with this picture which, to me, would have worked a whole lot better as a 30-minute-long short film!
Also, some very intense and potentially disturbing sequences are glossed over in a heartbeat or even happen off screen. Obviously, this is due to the low budget, but couldn’t the filmmakers think of something different, something more interesting?
As I said, I really wouldn’t recommend The Odds, most horror fans would find it boring (for good reasons) and even people who love psychological thrillers like me would have a hard time sitting through this flick. Nonetheless, I hope Bob Giordano will try again: the script was quite solid, and he clearly understands how to work with small budgets, which could potentially lead to a much better film with a competent and experienced studio backing up the project.
The Odds 5/10
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