Truth or Dare is the latest horror flick from the fine people at Blumhouse Productions who brought us the M. Night Shyamalan comeback vehicle Split, agreeably goofy slasher-with-a-twist Happy Death Day, and stone cold genre masterpiece Get Out. So does Truth or Dare belong in that pantheon of modern classics? Oof, no! Not even close, actually.
Truth or Dare’s plot focuses on a group of American students who have lobbed down to Mexico for spring break, where they both drink and check their phones prolifically. Handsome stranger Cole (Landon Liboiron) convinces good-hearted Olivia (Lucy Hale) and her friends to join him in an abandoned church for a game of, you guessed it, truth or dare. Naturally the game doesn’t go as planned and when the ghastly young people return to their home… [cue: sinister musical sting] the game has followed them [cue: LOUD NOISE to distract from the lack of genuine on-screen scares]!
The rather convoluted curse means that they need to answer truth or dare when prompted and if they lie, or don’t perform the dare, they’ll cark it in short order. Look, it’s not the silliest premise for a horror movie out there (It Follows was, after all, about a demonic sexually transmitted disease and there are seven fucking Leprechaun flicks with another due in 2019) but the film never knows whether to lean into the idiocy and have fun with the silly concept or attempt to wring genuine pathos out the proceedings. The result is an overlong, uneven, occasionally unintentionally funny, weirdly toothless horror flick with minimal scares and some outrageously awful dialogue. When the lead character describes the physical manifestation of the evil game looking like “some kind of messed up Snapchat filter” the audience of the preview screening – comprising a diverse range of ages – groaned as one, united in their weary, eye-rolling scorn.
Ultimately Truth or Dare just isn’t very good. The directing is unimaginative, the performances are at best adequate and the horror moments are either silly or ineffective. If the film does make decent bank, and there’s a chance it will, expect see the party game extended horror universe, featuring a terrifying Spin the Bottle movie, Catch and Kiss flick and Beware The Hokey Pokey. Proposed tagline: “Death’s what it’s all about!” Maybe those (hypothetical) movies will stumble onto being vaguely decent, but Truth or Dare, unfortunately, is a bit of a dud.