Director: Jeff Wadlow
Release date: 13 April 2018
Length: 100 minutes
A harmless game of truth or dare brings a mediocre film to life. ‘Truth or Dare’ is the latest movie from Blumhouse Production and Jeff Wadlow. True to the Blumhouse style of horror, the film takes a stab at intertwining comedy and drama with fear, to create a modern style of horror fit for a PG-13 audience.
The film begins with college student Olivia (Lucy Hale) convinced by her lifelong best friend Markie (Violette Beane) to attend one last hurrah of a spring break in Mexico with a group of friends. While boozing and cruising, the group encounter a mysterious stranger, Carter (Landon Liboiron) who convinces them to break into a haunted chapel in the middle of the night. Carter suggests the group play a good old game of truth or dare to get the party started. The group takes turns at the game, revealing uncomfortable truths and entertaining dares, until it’s Carter’s turn. His truth revealed that he lured the group to this location as a dare, in order to live. Subsequently endangering the group’s lives by introducing them to the sadistic game of truth or dare, in which he is stuck in. He tells them that wherever they go, whatever they do, the game will find you, and it did just that. Once returning home, they begin to realise they are haunted by spirits that possess the game. As the truths become increasingly hurtful and dares become deadlier, the surviving few try to figure out a way to get out of the game alive.
‘Truth or Dare’ delivers all of the cliché horror movie themes you would expect from a Blumhouse production, enmeshed with a short supply of thrills and substandard dialog. If you’ve seen the trailer, you’ve pretty much seen all the scares. The death scenes, which had the potential to provide the audience the only hope of horror or thrill, offered some gore but basically felt rushed and not scary.
The film gives off a teen drama-esque vibe as it depicts college students doing what college students do best – engaging in love triangles and constantly documenting their life on social media. The characters’ use of and reference to social media was one of the only traits that made the film seem somewhat believable. A noteworthy scene being one where Olivia describes the likeness of the demonised face to a snapchat filter.
‘Truth or Dare’ also had a go at presenting themes of alcoholism, sexuality and sexual harassment. However, these matters took a backseat as the film seemingly focused on more important issues, such as love triangles and cheating scandals. Ultimately, the lack of character depth made it hard to care, resulting in a yawn with every passing dead body. While the film in its entirety was absurd, the highlight was watching movie-goers attempting to make the creepy smiling face.
Memorable line: “I brought you all up here because I’m okay with strangers dying if it means I get to live.”