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Truth or Dare (A Movie Review)

Updated: Mar 11, 2020

Blumhouse’s Truth or Dare


Starring Lucy Hale, Tyler Posey, Violett Beane, Landon Liboiron, Sophia Taylor Ali, Nolan Gerard Funk, Sam Lerner, Brady Smith, Hayden Szeto, Morgan Lindholm, Aurora Perrineau, Tom Choi, Leslie Stratton, Carlo Sciortino, Tim Neff, Lisa Catara, Ezmie Garcia, Alexis Jacknow, Bradley Snedeker and Gary Anthony Williams.

Screenplay by Michael Reisz and Jillian Jacobs & Chris Roach & Jeff Wadlow.

Directed by Jeff Wadlow.

Distributed by Universal Pictures. 100 minutes. Rated R.

It seems a little odd for this little horror title to have the film’s production company as part of the official title – Blumhouse’s Truth or Dare. Yes, Jason Blum’s little company that could has become star amongst low-budget horror factories (making such profitable series as Paranormal Activity, Insidious, The Purge and also last year’s Oscar-nominated smash Get Out), but still the company’s name hasn’t been part of their other titles. More likely, it is to differentiate this film from an even more low-budget horror film based on the titular game and also named Truth or Dare, which was released just last year.

Okay, so Blumhouse’s Truth or Dare is not the most original film to hit the cineplexes recently. More important, though, is it a good horror film?

Yeah, pretty good actually. It’s cheap and exploitative and doesn’t make all that much sense, but if you’re just looking for sustained tension and some good jump scares, Truth or Dare mostly delivers. (Sorry, I’m not going to keep using the production company as part of the title. Sue me.)

The setup is as simple as it is strangely ingenious. A group of six college students go to Mexico for spring break. While there, they are lured to an abandoned monastery in the middle of the hills. They are talked into a game of “Truth or dare,” and when they get back to the States they find that the game is still going, with supernatural aspects and deadly results.

If you want to stay alive you must follow these simple rules: Always tell the truth, or you will die. Always do the dare, or you will die. Never refuse to play, or you will die. There are only two truths before someone must do a dare. Always finish your dare, no matter how horrific. Someone will often die from the dares even if they do them completely.

Things we’ve learned from Truth or Dare:

  1. Assume that if you blow off volunteering for Habitat for Humanity for a crazed Mexican bacchanalia there will be some massive cosmic payback.

  2. Lucy Hale (Pretty Little Liars, Life Sentence) can carry a movie on her pretty little shoulders.

  3. Abandoned Mexican monasteries are probably not the best places to get wasted.

  4. Violett Beane (The Flash) makes an attractive bottle blonde.

  5. Even your friends can be taken over by badness in the game. (You can tell when they have been possessed by the evil demon, because their faces elongate and stretch spookily, like you are looking at them through a carnival fun house mirror.)

  6. It’s not a good idea to be hot for two roommates who are best friends and inseparable.

  7. If your dad killed himself years ago, apparently out of the blue, there must have been some reason for it.

  8. If you’re an obnoxious horn-dog frat boy, chances are good that you will die first.

  9. It’s okay to come out to your homophobic dad, but you probably don’t want to pull a gun on him.

  10. Selling fake prescriptions to freshmen is bad. Lying about it is worse.

  11. Last, and most importantly: never, ever play party games with an evil demon. They really hate to lose.

It was a little dumb, it was a little cheesy, it was a little cliched, but damn if Truth or Dare didn’t kind of work on its own cheap exploitative level.

I must admit, I didn’t buy the final scene at all. It is there totally to set up a sequel, but it goes totally out of character of the people who did it. (One of them said the exact opposite thing in an early truth-or-dare question, though granted a lot happened to that person between the two answers.)

However, if you’re looking for a chilling night at the movies, you can do a whole hell of a lot worse. Truth or Dare is pretty much standard operating procedure for Blumhouse – you can’t exactly say it’s a very good film, but it sets its sights on creeping you out and it mostly succeeds.

Jay S. Jacobs

Copyright ©2018 All rights reserved. Posted: April 13, 2018.

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