By MAYA PAGE
Blumhouse’s “Truth or Dare” was released on April 13 from the producers of “Get Out,” “Split” and “Happy Death Day.” Expectations for the film were high after the indie production company, since Blumhouse had brought thriller hits to theaters before.
“Truth or Dare” is far from a horror movie. There are a handful of suspenseful moments, but it is definitely not as scary as promotions led people to believe.
The movie opened with a group of college students traveling to Mexico for their last spring break. They wind up playing truth or dare in an abandoned Mexican church. The harmless game is cursed by an ancient demon. It follows them back to college and torments them until the group of six is cut down to two.
The rules of the games are, “Tell the truth or you die. Do the dare or you die. Refuse to play? You die,” the demon says.
The film is a loop of each member getting their turn being forced to do extreme dares and tell deep secrets to stay alive. The theme is similar to the classic thriller “Final Destination.”
What keeps the audience hooked is not the intensity or
horror, but wanting to find out what the characters will be told to do. Lead character Olivia (Lucy Hale of “Pretty Little Lairs”) is dared to sleep with her best friend’s boyfriend, Lucas (Tyler Posey of “Teen Wolf,”). Brad (played by Hayden Szeto) is forced to tell his homophobic father he is gay. Lucas is dared to choose between which girl he loves, his girlfriend Markie or Olivia.
More often than not, the game is petty and childish with
tasks that cause relationship drama, binge drinking, and friendships to tear apart. What differentiates this film from a basic teen movie are the gruesome deaths when someone doesn’t follow the demon’s orders.
The movie is very millennial-driven, with constant references to Snapchat, Facebook, YouTube and other social media. The characters document their entire getaway to Mexico on their phones, with endless scenes of selfies. When the “game” takes over, all their faces are morphed into an evil smile with red eyes, which Olivia says is, “like a messed up Snapchat filter.”
The dialogue is often so witless and the acting so emotionless that is was funny. Something dramatic and sad happens, like the most likeable character and friend is shot and killed, and they would move on to the next scene as if it never happened.
It is hard to become shocked or saddened when a character dies because the movie never allows the audience to become attached to them. They are supposed to be best friends, but all of the relationships are completely fake. There are so many secrets, lies and instances of cheating that when the game forces them to do something horrible, it is impossible to sympathize.
Overall, the plot is predictable, with an average climax which doesn’t leave the audience in suspense. However, the conclusion is surprising, yet frustrating. The one hope that the audience holds is that the demon will be killed and the game will be over. Instead, Olivia and Markie post a YouTube video and have the whole world join in on a never-ending game of truth or dare.
“Truth or Dare” is a disappointment from previous out-of-the-box Blumhouse Production films. However, it is still an entertaining watch for a crowd that isn’t into super scary movies.
It is definitely not a blockbuster hit, but there is something about the film that sets it apart from many other horror movies, and that is the backstory. There are many more cliché horror films where a demon is haunting a house and there is no reasoning. “Truth or Dare” actually digs into the history of the game and gives the storyline a purpose. It has a good concept and potential, but overall is poorly executed from the script to Snapchat evil smiles.