Truth: this movie barely avoids being complete crap
Directed by: Jeff Wadlow
Written by: Jillian Jacobs, Michael Reisz, Christopher Roach, Jeff Wadlow
Cast: Lucy Hale, Violett Beane, Tyler Posey, Hayden Szeto
Swift shot: I always try to find something that I like in any movie I review, and with Blumhouse’s Truth or Dare, I really had to struggle to find something. It was too long and the characters were just incredibly dumb. The redeeming moments were when characters got to get out of the movie early, by dying.
If you want to watch a good Truth or Dare movie, check out this savage, indie flick instead, but be advised it is not for the tender-hearted nor children! Speaking of that, Blumhouse’s version was hindered by its targeting. When I go see a horror film, I expect to be horrified, and there are really terrifying movies that manage to do so under the PG-13 rating. So that’s no excuse to not be even remotely scary.
Truth or Dare centers around two girlfriends, BFFs Olivia (Hale) and Markie (Beane) who are facing adulthood in the future and after some initial protests from Olivia, Markie tricks her into one last blow-out spring break . . . in Mexico. That’s probably their first of many, many mistakes.
Markie’s boyfriend Lucas (Posey) will be going with them, along with the boorish, mean-spirited doctor wannabe, Tyson (Nolan Gerard Funk), his girlfriend Penelope (Sophia Ali), and their gaysian buddy Brad (Szeto).
At first they are living it up in Mexico, because clearly they never saw this freakin’ film called Borderland which was a cautionary tale about all the horrible shit that can happen to you in Mexico. Eight years later, it really isn’t any better, and now there is a new level of bullshit to deal with, an endless game of truth or dare that only death will end. They should have gone to Fort Lauderdale.
Olivia, who is a sympathetic archetype, wants to save everyone, which ends up being her downfall. Markie is a pragmatist, she wants to help herself first and if there is time to help others, great. This comes into play at the film’s conclusion, which was one of the redeeming qualities of an otherwise forgettable movie.
As they find themselves playing this terrible game of truth or dare, they all eventually realize there is no escape from the trap that has been set for them. They spend much of the movie just trying not to die in scenes that tack on forever. After awhile it becomes annoying, and you start to cheer when one of them finally loses the game. That’s probably not what the writers had in mind.
But, for that reason Truth or Dare is decent . . . for mocking entertainment. I am usually not happy when people shout crap out at the screen in a theater, but for this nonsense, I say shout away. It might add to the experience and make the whole trip to the movies more fun.
It’s a shame the pacing destroyed any hopes Truth or Dare had of being praiseworthy too, because much of it is just them driving back and forth to Mexico and a lot of screen time is wasted on garbage time. When you finally find out what causes the truth or dare trap, that backstory was interesting, and that’s the movie I would have rather watched.
There was a good story-line to make this one a bit better, but without taking any real risks and sticking to the same tired spooky smiling face gimmick, it went from being creepy to campy almost instantly. The trailers made better use of this tactic than the entire film. And really, this could have been a half-decent shorter film, if handled right.
It was a teen romance, chick-flick disguised as a “Blumhouse horror” (whatever the hell that’s supposed to mean). And if I am telling the truth, I only wanted to see it because of Sam Lerner who is in my favorite ’80s show, The Goldbergs. His character was so stupid that no one wanted him to live very long. But he did have a bitchin’ flamingo shirt.
I know these young actors won’t suffer because of this flop, and maybe there will be a small cult-following, but overall this version of Truth or Dare is quite meh. Their agents will forget it and so should you.