Movie Reviews

Published on April 11th, 2018 | by Michael Newman


Truth Or Dare

Growing up with four sisters who would regularly have slumber parties, I was no stranger to the game Truth or Dare. For those who were never lucky enough to experience this game for themselves, the premise is simple, decide whether to tell the truth, regardless of what was asked or take a dare. I’m certain many friendships and relationships were lost over this simple game, because most people probably didn’t want to tell the truth or had friends who would come up with the most embarrassing dare imaginable. Hopefully, the game didn’t result in the death of most of your friends though, unlike the film Truth or Dare produced by Blumhouse Productions and directed by Jeff Wadlow (Kick-Ass 2).

Truth or Dare is a film that starts off with simple beginnings, a group of friends in their final year of college decide to spend their last spring break partying it up in Mexico. Olivia (Lucy Hale), being the responsible one, is reluctant to go choosing instead to spend her spring break building houses for Habitat for Humanity. Her best friend Markie (Violett Bean) pulls out all the stops and convinces her reluctant bestie to forgo Habitat and spend the week in Mexico instead. On their final night Olivia is approached by a handsome stranger named Carter (Landon Liboiron) who convinces her and her friends to join him for a rousing game of Truth or Dare in a spooky old abandoned Mexican mission. What could go wrong?

The game seemed simple enough, and everyone traveled home thinking that the game was only a game and ended when they left Mexico. It is only after their return, and strangers begin smiling at them and Truth or Dare voices appear from out of nowhere, that the game has only just begun. Play the game or face the consequences, fail to tell the truth, you die; fail your dare, you die…the rules are simple, but obeying them is what gradually tears the group of friends apart.

Truth or Dare follows much of the same plot twists and turns that other teen-based horror movies (I Know What You Did Last Summer, Final Destination, etc.) do. Initially the characters don’t buy into what is happening and it takes a few horrific events to convince them that what is going on is real. While the movie sticks very close to the formula of those before it, there are still the occasional plot twists or jump scares to keep things interesting. The movie attempts to play on the moral dilemma that comes with playing a game of Truth or Dare; the player must usually decide between hurting someone with honesty or harming themselves or someone else by taking the dare. Without giving away any spoilers, there is a “truth” question posed to Olivia at the beginning of the game that comes full circle at the end which demonstrates this point brilliantly.

Lucy Hale did an incredible job in her portrayal of Olivia, a young college student who tries to do the right thing, even if that happens to be at the expense of those around her. The rest of the cast however seemed to be a little more inconsistent in their character portrayals. It’s not that any one of them did a particularly poor job, their characters just felt more like cardboard cutouts, sticking to their given teen stereotype that teetered between believable and frustrating. There are certainly plenty of moments where you will be face-palming yourself on how the characters are behaving, considering the very real consequences they are facing. Remember they are all very aware of the rules, so accepting someone’s truth or the consequences of a dare, you’d think would be a given.

Overall, I enjoyed Truth or Dare. It doesn’t break any new ground and in many ways, resembles the teen suspense/horror movies of the mid 90’s. There are plenty of jump scares, and also a fair share of groan worthy moments. It’s the type of movie that won’t likely have any lasting impact once you leave the theater but is entertaining enough that you won’t be looking at your watch wondering when it’ll be over. It’s a fun movie that likely won’t be nominated for any awards, but that’s okay. Sometimes all you want is an escape, a movie that accepts what it is, and hopefully gives the audience exactly what they were expecting.

3 out of 5 stars


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