Death’s Roulette Review – goofy horror goodness

By Marc Miller
Published: May 6, 2023 (Last updated: February 17, 2024)
2023 Paramount+ film Death's Roulette


Death’s Roulette is a fun horror-thriller with an oddly cohesive mix of campy-horror goodness and contemporary social issues.

We review the 2023 Paramount+ film Death’s Roulette, which does not contain spoilers.

At first glance, the Mexican language horror thriller Death’s Roulette (Uno Para Morir) is a rip-off of Escape Room. And for the most part, it can be. It’s all campy, but the result is a solid horror thriller with excellent pacing and an arm-rest-grabbing tone covering up some obvious flaws.

Death’s Roulette Review and Plot Summary

The story follows seven people who have been taken hostage and are about to embark on a deadly game. After waking up in a locked room within a bunker built inside the side of a cliff on an island surrounded by an endless ocean, they receive a message that one must die.

They must follow three rules. The first is the group must choose one of them to die. The second, the chosen one, must agree to their death, And finally, the third is that no one can offer themselves up. But who?

Will it be Simon (Manolo Cardona), a cop with a checkered past? Perhaps Teresa (Adriana Paz), a drugged-out flight attendant? Jose (Fernando Becerril), the bruised and beaten old man in the corner? Or Armando (Dagoberto Gama), an arrogant surgeon with a God complex?

At least Lupe (Carla Adell), a human rights attorney, and her wealthy parents, Esteban (Juan Carlos Remolina) and Marta (Maribel Verdú), hold the votes.

“Death’s Roulette” is Manolo Cardona’s directorial debut, and it’s a horror-thriller with excellent pacing and tone. It pays homage to the Cardonoa’s Columbian roots of a genre of cinema called “pornomiseria,” which often portrays marginalized populations in Latin America.

Except here, the plot examines how the wealthy and elite treat the underclass and the unintended consequences of looking down on society.

The script by Gavo Amiel and Julieta Steinberg is strong. Mainly because it allows the viewer to learn enough about each character as the film progresses. Verdu’s Marta is by far the most interesting character, and she gives the film the best turn. Although the material is campy and over-the-top, her turn is the most moving as she begs for repentance. She represents the unintended consequences of the cynical side of human kindness coming home to roost.

The film’s third act is abrupt, as the group is led to a labyrinth maze that feels over the top, even for this horror soap opera. While the film’s big twist ending may feel like the filmmakers may have pulled a fast one, it’s outrageous to keep things lively. Even the secondary plot reveal is conventional, but the telenovela-style twist is light enough to remove the edge from being too ominous.

Is Death’s Roulette Good or Bad?

Death’s Roulette pacing and tone go a long way to cover up its campy flaws.

This is a fun thriller that tackles socially social justice issues in a campy-horror style that’s a mindless, entertaining diversion.

Is Death’s Roulette Worth Watching?

Death’s Roulette is worth watching, especially if you are a fan of the genre, particularly the Escape Room films.

Also, anyone looking for an outrageous mix of contemporary social issues and goofy horror goodness.

What did you think of the 2023 Paramount+ film Death’s Roulette? Comment below.

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