Truth or Dare Review

Truth or Dare

I’m not ashamed to say that I like some of the Blumhouse fare. The Purge and Sinister were both pretty effective horror thrillers, and let’s not forget that recent classics Get Out and Whiplash also bore the Blumhouse banner.

With new release Truth or Dare, Blumhouse returns to its low-budget, supernatural roots.

Olivia (Lucy Hale) is a US college student, whose good points include kindness to strangers and a hankering for volunteer work. She lives with bff Markie (Violett Beane) and secretly harbours feelings for Markie’s boyfriend Lucas (Tyler Posey), who may or may not feel the same way back.

Along with friends Penelope, Tyson and Brad, Olivia is persuaded to sack off the volunteer work and head to Mexico for Spring Break.

We know she shouldn’t go. She knows she shouldn’t go. But there wouldn’t be much of a movie if she stayed put, so off she goes.

Through the opening credits montage, we learn that the group have a pretty good time. On their last night, after bumping into fellow student Ronnie, Olivia meets a guy named Carter in a bar. He suggests that Olivia and the group place their complete trust in him and accompany him to a dark and deserted location.

You know, that old horror movie staple.

When they arrive, Carter convinces the group to play Truth or Dare. Light-hearted antics ensue and all generally goes well until Carter, on his turn, tells the truth: he was dared to find a group of people and trick them into the playing the game.

Carter then exits stage left, but not before apologising and warning the group that ‘the game’ will follow them and that they should never refuse it.

The gang initially think it’s just some prank in poor taste and return back home. Before you know it, they are indeed stalked by the game in various ways and all forced to play one by one.

Will Olivia and her friends figure out what’s behind all this strangeness and, more importantly, is this a game they can win?

The film, boasting no less than four writers, is pretty predictable fare, drawing on a range of influences such as Final Destination, The Ring and It Follows, but without ever coming close to reaching the same heights.

Well, maybe Final Destination.

The characters are all killed off in order of obnoxiousness and the ones who you think will last until the end are indeed the ones who last to the end.

Actual scares are thin on the ground, and there is an ill-advised special effect which affects the characters’ faces whenever the game is targeting them, but this seemed to elicit laughs rather than gasps from the audience.

Director Jeff Wadlow, who I still struggle to forgive for Kick-Ass 2, seems to be on ground familiar to his 2005 campus-set horror film Cry Wolf, but fails to generate the kind of performances needed to sell the silly central conceit here.

The cast, featuring a raft of familiar faces from current TV shows, similarly all struggle to make us care about any of the character’s revelations as the story progresses.

The film may appeal to groups of bored teens looking for cheesy entertainment to pass the time, but ultimately remains a pretty forgettable entry to the horror genre.

Conor Brennan

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Dates ‘n stuff

April 2018