Never before I’ve written a spoiler-filled review for a movie that’s still in cinemas: I guess that makes Truth or Dare somehow special…
Truth or Dare revolves around a group of high schoolers played by actors in their 30s who go to Mexico for their last spring break before college. There, they come across a seemingly nice American dude who asks them to play truth or dare – because that’s a cool thing to do in your last day of holiday in a foreign country! A harmless game turns deadly when someone – or something (a demon I guess) – pushes it to a limit. And, if they refuse to play, they die. Sounds like the premise for a cinematic masterpiece, doesn’t it?
It becomes obvious, pretty early in the movie, that Truth or Dare is pure crap (no offense for crap), when, 45 seconds in, a fake jump-scare is caused by a phone ringing loudly out of nowhere. Then, we are introduced to the main characters: Olivia (Lucy Hale) and Markie (Violett Beane), presented to us through some life-changing, profound dialogue like “this is the last chance to stay together before life will tear us apart!”. Wow, that really changed my perception of life and friendship!
Only then, the opening credit scene starts rolling and guess what? It’s filmed through Snapchat filters, because that’s relatable to middle schoolers and teenagers who shoehorn in theatres to watch this atrocity against humanity. Oh yeah, this movie is PG-13, so even the death scenes are lame and disappointing, since they can’t feature any blood. More on this later.
When Olivia and Markie embark to their journey to Mexico, they’re joined by their group of friends: the douchebag (Nolan Gerard Funk), the responsible but handsome guy (Tyler Posey), the slut (Sophia Ali), the horney I’d-fuck-everything-that-moves idiot (Sam Lerner). Yes, they’re all stock characters! Add to that the fact that they’re annoying as hell and their dialogues have been written super lazily and you find yourself wanting them all to die within the first 10 minutes of Truth or Dare.
The thing that enraged me beyond imagination about these characters is that the actors playing them are actually decent: Tyler Posey is a rising star, Lucy Hale is great in Scream 4 and good in Pretty Little Liars (yes, I watch the show… don’t laugh!) and Nolan Gerard Funk is a vastly underrated actor, who proved himself in movies like Deadgirl. The potential, however, is completely wasted because they’re given a shitty script to work with and their dialogues is hollow when it’s not utterly cringeworthy.
As I mentioned in the synopsis of Truth or Dare, the bunch of unlikeable character are tricked by Carter – the American dude they met like 2 minutes ago – to play the game, so that we witness some teenage drama erupting, like: “Olivia, is it true that you love your best friend’s boyfriend?”. Seriously, the only way you could relate to these people is if you’re 14 years old and pretty daft.
I almost forgot to mention that one of the characters is gay… wow, this movie is so politically correct, so open-minded. I can’t help but love it now!
Anyway, once the characters realise they’ve been tricked by Carter and they’re now fucked, we witness what I’d like to call “the Willem Defoe’s grin”: when they, or the people around them, get possessed by the game, they pull of this hilarious facial expression – trying their best Defoe’s impression – that nearly made me laugh out loud, in the theatre, throughout the whole flick.
Don’t worry, though, because during the first death scene – when the horny guy slips on a table and breaks his neck falling like a pinecone – I did burst out in laughter. To my surprise, some teenagers in the theatre found that scene genuinely scary: Truth or Dare must have been their first experience with horror cinema, there’s no other explanation.
From there on, the movie progresses as a composition of vignettes where Olivia tries to win the trust of her friends – who, apparently, are so stupid they can’t realise they’ve been cursed – all the while, some of them die either because they fail to play the game or because the game itself pushes them to do something deadly dangerous. Among them [MINI-SPOILER], we witness one guy slicing his throat and one blowing his brains up with a gun: sounds like a gory movie, right? Yeah, except that there is no blood! Either the filmmakers thought their audience was too stupid to question this point, or they thought a bloody scene might have affected the moviegoing teenagers more than the stupidity of this flick itself. Either ways, that’s outrageous.
Besides, the audience must endure some of the dumbest attempts to a jump-scare I’ve ever seen, such as a scene in the hospital, when one of the guys is looking at a vending machine and an old patient grabs his shoulders and we get a close-up of his grin who truly cracked me up.
Another unintentionally ridiculous scene happened when the douchebag – who wants to become a doctor (which is per se hilarious) – replies to his friend who are warning him with a poop emoji. A poop emoji?! And he wants to be a medic?! Besides, as he solemnly explains, this idiot wants to become a doctor “to save people and stuff”. Such a good, convincing example for the younger generations who fill up theatres worldwide to witness this crap fest.
Towards the end of Truth or Dare [REAL SPOILER, go to the next paragraph], the three remaining protagonists – obviously the three teens involved in a romantic triangle – are forced to choose who lives and who dies among them. Aside from the fact that, at this point, nobody gives a damn, they try to prove themselves as nice and kind people by offering their life for that of the others… spitting the lamest romantic one-liners you can imagine while doing so.
Finally, the movie ends with the possibility for an uninspired sequel and demonstrating that, after all, a lay person would have defeated the demon in the game within the first 15 minutes of this horrible attempt to a film.
Before I conclude and give my final grade, let me just state that, even the production values are very flawed here: there are many out of focus shots (!), sloppy editing (!!) and many goofs (!!!). That means that Blumhouse preferred to release worldwide and in theatres a fucking cookie-cutter dumbass movie than the excellent Stephanie, which only come out on video on demand.
Although my intent as a critic is never to say whether or not people should watch a movie, this time at least don’t go the theatre for this abomination: watch it on your laptop, but don’t allow money-hungry studios to make more of those “things”. If you enjoyed movies like Annabelle (2014), Ouija (2014), The Bye Bye Man (2017), Wish Upon (2017), then you might like this one too, so don’t let me stop you from checking it out… if you dare to watch it (get it?)
Truth or Dare 1/10
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My review is also available on IMDb – Truth or Dare (2018)