Over the past 10 years Blumhouse Productions has breathed new life into a stagnant and stale Horror film world. Movies such as the Paranormal Activity series, the Insidious series, and most recently 2017’s award winning Get Out have shown that modern Horror can be as good and effective as the classics from yesteryear. Consistently working to bring quality products to viewers, in 2018, Blumhouse has already released the successful Insidious: The Last Key back in January, a new Benji film to Netflix in March, and on Friday, the 13th of April, Truth or Dare to theaters everywhere.
Produced by Jason Blum (Paranormal Activity 2007, Get Out 2017), written by Jillian Jacobs and Christopher Roach, from a story by Michael Reisz, and directed by Jeff Wadlow (Kick-Ass 2013, The Strain series), Truth or Dare tells the story of a seemingly harmless game turned deadly when USC senior Olivia (Lucy Hale: Privileged 2008, Pretty Little Liars 2010) and her friends go on a trip to Mexico. A cast that includes Tyler Posey (Teen Wolf series, Scary Movie 5 2013) as Lucas Moreno, on their last night there, something or someone begins to punish those who lie or refuse to uphold a dare, turning their once idyllic vacation into a living nightmare.
A simple and fresh take on a game idea being brought into the realm of Horror, at times, Truth or Dare feels like 1995’s Jumanji mixed with a lukewarm 2000’s Final Destination. It is a film about an age old game that goes terribly wrong sprinkled in with a little PG 13 blood and gore incidents throughout. While it takes you on this road of death hunting in calculated ways throughout the film experience, it does not grab you in the raw, unexpected, and visceral ways the Final Destination film series had done so flawlessly.
Additionally, the deaths that happen throughout Truth or Dare are not terrible, but the death scenes do not marinate enough for people to really take them in. Yes, it is understood that the ratings play a huge factor in how much blood and gore can be in a PG-13 film, although, there still should be a sense of quality and creativity in the way it was executed on screen. Because of such factors, the death scenes, that truely are crucial to the plot of the film, seem rushed and underdeveloped for a director of Wadlow’s stature. Instead of coming off as being what could be a cult classic, it has the feelings and working of a mediocre straight to VOD or DVD Horror flick.
Speaking of quality, this also applies to the execution of characterization within Truth or Dare. While the inflection of changes in characters is evident, as the game is meant to show the truth behind the facades of who people actually are, versus who they present themselves to be, those who are not even involved in the game changed instantaneously as well. Confusing and hard to follow at times, it could lead to a disconnect within Truth or Dare for viewers since there is a loss of continuity in character development – even for those that are not really involved and know nothing of the game. That in mind, there is growth and change for each of the characters, however it is just not executed well enough to hold the plot of the story.
Overall, Truth or Dare is at times a painfully stale Horror film experience. However, all things being relative, Wadlow and the production team did not have a bad idea for a film, but lack of logic, terror, and thrills hinders Truth or Dare from being the Horror film it should have become. Yes, it is somewhat of a letdown from Blumhouse, but there is hope for a Truth or Dare franchise since a sequel was green-lighted for next spring. Until then, as a stand alone film, CrypticRock give Truth or Dare 2.5 out of 5 stars.