Directed by: Jeff Wadlow
Runtime: 100 minutes
Produced by Blumhouse, Truth or Dare promises to thrill audiences by transforming the innocent childhood game of truth or dare into a demonic haunting unlike any other. Does it live up to this promise? Not really, which is sad considering some of the great horror flicks that the Blumhouse company has recently put out like the award-winning Get Out, the highly rated Split, and the refreshing Happy Death Day.
Lucy Hale of Pretty Little Liars fame and Tyler Posey (Teen Wolf) lead the cast admirably enough, playing your average American slasher-movie teenagers, ready to get wet and wild on a fun summer holiday turned demonic haunting. Hale plays Olivia, an environmental warrior who is roped into a spring break trip to Mexico by her best friend Markie (Violett Beane). They are joined by Posey as Lucas—Markie’s boyfriend, med-student Tyson (Nolan Gerard Funk), gay pal Brad (Hayden Szeto) and party girl Penelope (Sophia Taylor Ali).
A quick social media montage sequence of videos, Snapchats and Instagram pics shows the group having the time of their lives, partying it up on the streets of Mexico. On the last night of their trip, Olivia meets a mysterious man at a bar who invites her and her companions to a creepy old Mexican mission where they play an innocent game of truth or dare. After a few funny dares, the mystery man then reveals to the group that the game is real and they must complete all future dares or tell the truth if they want to survive.
Weirded out by the claim, the group returns back to normal life before each of them are haunted by the game and must complete a number of dares while the stakes become higher and higher.
While the concept of using the game truth or dare in the film seems original enough on paper, the execution is somewhat lacking. Using innocent childhood games or rhymes to give a horror film an unsettling edge has been repeated so many times you can’t help but feel like this film is a little stale. However, that is not necessarily a bad thing, while I love new and innovative horror films like Get Out, sometimes I just feel in the mood for something light and cheesy from the Horror genre.
As for scares, the film mostly relies on sudden jumps to get a reaction from the audience and uses crazy facial contortions as a way to scare watchers into submission. While these contortions may work for some, they seem a bit more like some sort of crazy Snapcat filter you might test out when you’re bored.
While the basis for the film might seem a bit convoluted it does pose a few interesting questions to its audience. For example, how far would you go to conceal a horrible truth?
Overall, Truth or Dare, directed by Jeff Wadlow (Kick-Ass 2) is an admirable addition to the horror film genre, a bit smarter than your average slasher flick, but nothing to write home about.