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Blumhouse’s Truth or Dare Review

April 15, 2018 | Posted by Joseph Lee
Truth or Dare
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Blumhouse’s Truth or Dare Review  

*Lucy Hale as Olivia
*Tyler Posey as Lucas Moreno
*Violett Beane as Markie Cameron
*Sophia Ali as Penelope
*Landon Liboiron as Carter
*Nolan Gerard Funk as Tyson Curran
*Sam Lerner as Ronnie

Story: A harmless game of Truth or Dare among friends turns deadly when someone — or something — begins to punish those who tell a lie or refuse the dare.

From the moment the trailer for Truth or Dare was released, it seemed to get a reaction that Blumhouse likely didn’t want. Most people commented on how bad it looked and had no plans to see. Some horror fans, such as this reviewer, thought the combination of the absurd premise and the stupid faces the characters made when possessed gave it the potential to be a staple of bad movie night viewing. This is the explanation for why I paid to see a movie I knew wouldn’t be good in theaters.

The film follows a group of friends who stereotypically head to Mexico to celebrate spring break. It’s the same kind of scenario as any slasher movie, with a group of thinly-drawn characters getting together to set up the body count. In this case, they drink, they party, they make out with strangers…then they go to an abandoned church with a random guy to play Truth or Dare. We’ve all been there, right? Anyway, that’s when they’re initiated into a twisted version of the which appears to be haunted.

Obviously, the idea of a haunted game of any kind is ludicrous, especially when it’s not even an actual object or person. But it gets better, because this is no ordinary game. This is actually possessed by a demon that was summoned decades ago. Yes, a demon-possessed game of truth or dare. The rules: tell the truth or die. Do the dare or die. And there’s a chance you die anyway because of the dares.

Films about curses with no apparent end in sight are nothing new. It’s the backbone of the entire Grudge franchise. So the idea that anyone could die at any time is one that could be used for a lot of suspense. The problem is that the movie tends to borrow elements from other franchises to justify its flimsy premise without anything else to hold itself up. Even the fact that the cast dies in a certain order is something seen in films like Final Destination. The only original thing Truth or Dare is bringing to the table is its concept, and that’s laughable.

Believe it or not, Truth or Dare actually seems to have a message attached to it. Early in the film, it establishes that Olivia is a selfless character. She puts others before herself, donates her time to Habitat for Humanity and so on. As the “game” progresses, people continuously tell her that she needs to put herself above others. So the message seems to be that everyone should be selfish and without spoiling the end, even the demon is encouraging that. Other recent horror films include self-sacrifice, but this seems to dismiss that idea as stupid and waves it off with little fanfare.

Of course no one expects any kind of serious social commentary with something like this, so the fact that it fails at it isn’t a huge complaint. It’s just one of many things that stick out. There is no attempt to be suspenseful, unless you are really drawn in to its story. Keep in mind, it’s hard to do that with a cast of vapid, one-dimensional characters. Even the ones that get development only get it in a half-hearted way.

Serious moments are only told to the audience instead of shown for dramatic effect. This is especially irritating with Brad, who is gay and is told via the demon to come out to his father. We’re only told it happened and the film rolls on. Later when he’s in danger, the only people that care are the people in the film. The only characters that aren’t vapid either die or become completely different people by the end.

Even the film’s attempts at danger and scares fall flat. It’s impossible to take the demon seriously given the way it manifests itself (you’ve seen the trailer, you know the clown grin I’m talking about). The deaths are tame, even for a PG-13 movie, and the truths only serve to move forward drama between the characters that is both annoying and boring. For example, there’s a love triangle that still manages to upset one of the characters halfway into the film, when she is more than aware of the rules. It’s a stupid decision to make.

It’s hard to say that Truth or Dare could have been something great. At best it would be a fun popcorn movie around a silly concept, but other horror films have made that work before. Killer dolls have been a staple of the genre and no one except children and people with a specific phobia find Chucky frightening. The point is that Truth or Dare not only does the bare minimum, it’s a script written with the worst possible choices for the characters, which themselves aren’t written to be anyone worth caring about. It’s a stupid idea made into a cliched movie with annoying characters. And that’s the truth.

The final score: review Bad
The 411
Blumhouse's Truth or Dare fails at everything it tries to be. Even as an exercise in "so-bad-it's-good", it comes off as just annoying. The characters are thinly-drawn, dark secrets for possible development are used as throwaways and the concept is laughable and not at all scary. I dare you to avoid this movie at all costs.

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Truth or Dare, Joseph Lee