Truth or Dare, the latest offering from horror studio Blumhouse Productions, isn’t the all-out gorefest that its trailer suggests. Instead, it’s more along the lines of Blumhouse’s 2017 release Happy Death Day: an almost comedic take on horror, with sporadic deaths taking a back seat to an oft-silly story.
You have to be a fan of the horror genre to tolerate this kind of movie, but even then, it might not be enough. The silly Truth or Dare doesn’t take itself seriously, and is reminiscent of ’70s and ’80s horror franchises featuring mostly nonsensical stories peppered with shocking deaths. What Blumhouse does (and normally does well) is infuse modern horror with comedy. Think Nightmare on Elm Street and Freddy Krueger’s one-liners, but in 2018.
Unfortunately, this is the first Blumhouse horror to fail. (They can’t all be gems!)
What’s the story here?
College students Olivia (Lucy Hale) and Markie (Violett Beane) are lifelong best friends staring down their last year of higher learning. After Markie does some convincing, the duo, along with a group of friends, heads off to Mexico for one final spring break blowout.
All hell literally breaks loose when the gang is coerced by mysterious stranger Carter (Canada’s own Landon Liboiron) to visit a (what else?) haunted castle in the middle of the night. There, Carter suggests they play a game of Truth or Dare. After the game starts, things are never the same.
Is there gore?
Some, but it’s few and far between. The movie is more about suspense and jump scares than being outright disgusting, but there are a few moments when you might be compelled to turn your head away from the screen. Let’s put it this way: there are more laughs than there is gore, some of them at the expense of the story and the acting.
Will I be scared?
As with the gore, you will be scared on occasion but it’s short-lived. At times, Truth or Dare plays like a teen TV romance, with a love triangle dominating the plotline. Last year’s Happy Death Day was more successful with its story; while that movie was just as implausible as a haunted castle/game, it had a lot more fun getting to the climax. There were plenty of laughs and it was a joy to try to figure out exactly what was going on.
Here, the more you think about the plot the more frustrating the movie becomes. The rules of the “curse” that afflicts the characters are arbitrary throughout, with the goalposts constantly fluctuating.
So what’s the bottom line?
Truth or Dare is a mash-up of horror, comedy, drama and suspense, all done up in Blumhouse’s trademark style. Because its focus is so scattered and its story so absurd, the end result is one of disarray. But hey, when has Truth or Dare ever ended well, anyway?
‘Truth or Dare’ is now playing in theatres.
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