Truth or Dare Review
If Truth or Dare was meant to be a comedy, then it is easily one of the funniest cinema experiences you will have this year. However, if it is meant to be a tense or genuine horror movie from Blumhouse Productions then it fails in a most spectacular fashion.
A group of friends go on Spring Break to Mexico. On their last night they end up partying in an abandoned Mission where they are invited to play a game of Truth or Dare. But the game doesn’t stop when their trip does, and the friends soon find their deepest secrets and worst fears laid bare. The rules are simple; tell the truth or you die, do the dare or you die, refuse to play and you die.
The easiest thing to compare Truth or Dare to is the Final Destination movies; after all, both deal with groups of teens attempting to avoid an inevitable fate. The difference, however, is that at least when the Final Destination movies stopped being scary and just wholesale they went for ridiculous spectacle, and there was still fun as you got to watch the chain of events in each death like a morbid game of the board game Mouse Trap. Here there is just nothing. Nothing has tension, nothing has stakes, and so when a character says “it dared me to sleep with your boyfriend” the only response that you have left is to laugh, and that’s probably not what the filmmakers intended.
You don’t care about the characters because they’re about as genre and clichéd as you can get. Nice Girl, Best Friend, Best Friend’s Nice Guy Boyfriend who is about as desirable as a decorative side table, Party Girl Drunk, Greater Jerk, Lesser Jerk, and Gay Friend who is probably the closest to likeable because he actually acts like a real person every now and then rather than a terrible horror movie character. The game also forces him to come out to his father at one point, although this we never see presumably because it would have been too real and serious for this movie. I thought for a moment that not showing their conversation meant that that movie was saving up a twist where it was revealed that he didn’t tell the truth and so would be killed in some sudden fashion, but no, the writers just didn’t know how to write something that wasn’t utter nonsense.
It’s not subtle, every single set-up is hammered in over and over to eye-rolling degree, and even that Grinch smile filter gets old eventually. The deaths just happen, low on gore and any impact, and when we get the explanation after they easily find the old shack in the middle of nowhere where the old nun lives, it’s yet another string of clichés. Demon summoned for revenge, demon gets out of hand, demon sealed away, dumbass teens unleashed demon because they were touching things they weren’t supposed to. A few times it even tries to frame itself as a movie of moral dilemmas, whether you can hurt someone else if it means saving yourself, but it never sticks because, again, nothing has any stakes and we don’t care what happens to these people.
This is how lazy and stupid this movie is; a key plot element hinges on a woman, who is wanted for murder, checking her Facebook. It does at least put in a rule for why everyone can’t just pick “truth”, thereby avoiding at least some of the risk for death, so the movie did put that minimum amount of thought into the rules of its set-up. If you enjoy a bad horror movie that’ll give you a good laugh, wait until Truth or Dare is streaming or on TV and you might have fun, but definitely don’t waste paying full price on this, especially when actually good horror like A Quiet Place and Ghost Stories are still both in cinemas.