Truth or Dare

Truth or Dare
Truth or Dare
Directed by Jeff Wadlow
Starring Aurora Perrineau, Tyler Posey, Lucy Hale, Sophia Ali, Violett Beane and Nolan Gerard Funk
In UK Cinemas April 13th, 2018

by Michael Anderson

As genre filmmaking goes, horror is more forgiving than most. From the stupidity of characters and premise, to the ridiculous ages of cast vs the roles they play, and the crunchingly hokum passages of exposition: none are barriers to a successful scary movie. In many ways this makes Truth Or Dare‘s abject failure on every possible level almost impressive, because the factors needed for a few guilty chuckles and cheap scares are all present and correct.

We have an agreeably ridiculous idea: a game of truth or dare by college seniors on Spring Break trip to Mexico is somehow cursed by an ancient demon, promising death for all who shirk the dare, fib the truth, or refuse to play. We have a game cast comprised mostly of old bits of balsa wood and MDF, including her from the show you saw ten minutes of once, and that guy from that thing that time, you think. We have the right posters on the moodboard: It Follows; I Know What You Did Last Summer; and most noticeably, every single Final Destination.

As a lucrative exercise in guilty pleasure franchising the FDs are without parallel, and their blueprint looms large – scope for random deaths, pretty much omnipotent baddie, huge repeat potential – but the rote knocking off of TorD‘s friends and associates is unforgivably devoid of any creativity or cinematic joie de vivre. Final Destination was dying on its feet but still gave us best friends burning themselves to death in a pair of sunbeds; nailguns to the head; an entire cinema incinerated in gory 3-D. Here we have some nonsense with a mattress, a gun (an actual gun! in a horror film! as a means of death! give me strength) and appalling internal logic.

Blumhouse has built up a steady rep in horror, capped by the break-out Oscar success of Get Out; Truth Or Dare is a huge misstep, and an object lesson in guilty pleasures being earned, not designed. This movie is funless, bloodless, entirely pointless, and somehow duller than actually playing truth or dare.


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