'Truth or Dare': Review

By Tim Grierson Senior Us Critic | Screen International, April 11, 2018 | Go to article overview

'Truth or Dare': Review


Tim Grierson Senior Us Critic, Screen International


A college game turns sinister in this lacklustre horror

Dir: Jeff Wadlow. US. 2018. 100mins.

The truth hurts - and sometimes kills - in Truth Or Dare, a risible horror film cursed with a dopey premise. Preying on the secrets and lies of a group of college chums, a deadly, supernatural version of the popular adolescent game results in murder, madness and misunderstandings - but there’s precious little to care about in a movie that’s neither ingenious nor silly enough to savour.

The film is mostly populated by the kinds of disposable, angst-y teens that are the hallmark of threadbare horror flicks

Opening April 13 in the US and UK, this Universal release will have to hope that producer Jason Blum’s recent track record of horror hits (Get Out, Split, Happy Death Day) adds a little sparkle to this woeful offering. Truth Or Dare will face direct competition from A Quiet Place, and a lack of star power may also hurt the film’s commercial prospects.

Olivia (Lucy Hale) and Markie (Violett Beane) are lifelong best friends and college seniors, anxious at the prospect that soon they’ll be going their separate ways after school. They decide to take a Spring Break trip to Mexico with some close pals - including Markie’s boyfriend Lucas (Tyler Posey) - where they meet a mysterious stranger (Landon Liboiron) who takes them to a spooky, abandoned mission to play a game of “Truth Or Dare”. What Olivia and Markie don’t realize, however, is that it’s a trap. Once they start playing, they can’t stop - if they do, they’ll be killed by demonic forces.

Director and co-writer Jeff Wadlow (Kick-Ass 2) works with a potentially juicy, Final Destination-like hook in which these friends try to outsmart whatever evil curse has them in their clutches while revealing horrible truths or undertaking painful dares. For the seemingly close-knit characters, admitting certain sensitive things to one another can be as fraught as being dared by this evil spirit to smash someone’s hand with a hammer.

But for Truth Or Dare’s terrors to really lacerate, we need to be deeply concerned about these characters’ fate - or, at the very least, relish the possibility of them destroying one another as the game spirals further out of control. …

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