Truth or Dare
by Hope Madden
Do people over the age of 8 still honestly play Truth or Dare? This idea surprises me. Aren’t there video games kids can be wasting time with?
I suppose the real surprise is that it took four years for a film to rip off It Follows. The new PG-13 horror from Blumhouse, Truth or Dare, takes a stab at it.
No, it’s not sex. But it is a curse that you pass on to other people to save yourself. A super lame curse that blends the clever concept of It Follows with the by-the-numbers structure of one of the later Final Destinations and wraps it all up in a faux-contemporary cautionary tale about the digital age.
I’d point out that co-writer/director Jeff Wadlow was primarily lifting from his own 2005 film Cry Wolf, but I decided to go with movies you might have seen—movies that merit imitation.
So. Goody two-shoes Olivia (Lucy Hale) plans to spend her final spring break as a college student building houses with Habitat for Humanity, but her trampy bestie Markie (Violett Beane) and their binge-drinking roomie Penelope (Sophia Ali) have other plans. They guilt Olivia into spending the time with them, their boyfriends and an ethnic minority/gay sixth wheel in Mexico.
Hooray! Six slasher stereotypes—I mean, six best friends!—head south to flirt with alcohol poisoning and make bad decisions. Like playing grade school sleepover games and going to that decaying old mission.
Truth is, there are moments when one performance or a single intriguing notion or a clever call-back threatens to save a scene, by the final reveal you realize how heavy-handed the film really is.
Performances are bland, kills lack inspiration, there aren’t even enough of the prerequisite jump scares to keep the target PG-13 audience interested.
If you are of-age, hopefully you bought some beer with that ID because you’ll need the lubrication to help you glide past the lapses in logic, sometimes comical dialog and one laugh-out-loud moment at the vending machine.
Brad (Hayden Szeto, who deserves better) hears the ominous sound of an otherworldly voice calling out his name.
Except that it sounds exactly like some stoned guy hiding on the other side of the candy machine trying out his spooky voice and stage-whispering, “Braaaaaaaaadddddd!”
My entire row laughed.
So, there you go. There is some enjoyment to be had.