Truth or Dare – Movie Review – I dare you to skip this.

Truth or Dare follows a group of teenagers who get caught up in a deadly game of Truth or Dare, in which they will die if they fail to tell the truth or fail to complete the dare.

Just a few minutes after this film started, I began to realise the extent of the experience I was about tot endure. It quickly became apparent that the seemingly interesting concept this film possesses, is in actual fact rather derivative of a handful of other horror properties. Think Final Destination, blended with It Follows in terms of how death will meet the characters in a specific order. The only problem is , this film is not as intelligent and well crafted as It Follows and it’s not as creatively violent and fun like Final Destination. What you are left with is a film that feels like a really poor imitation of better films.

The only thing I went into this film hoping for, was something that it ended up lacking in abundance. Creative kills. This is the exact type of horror film that people watch to see teenagers die in creative and exciting ways. It’s the only thing this film needed to achieve to be a moderately enjoyable viewing experience. The filmmakers clearly didn’t get the memo. Now I’m not saying excessive violence would’ve solved the problem, but allowing us to see a bit of gore and making the death sequences more visually appeasing would’ve made this film more fun. I’ll quickly use the Final Destination franchise as an example. Those films don’t feature stellar performances from it’s cast, they don’t have superbly constructed narratives but guess what? They don’t need to. Those films nail the one aspect that is most important, the death sequences. They are highly entertaining and creative. That’s all this film had to do. Something that also doesn’t help is the trailer telegraphed almost all of the key moments from each death scenario, which made none of those sequences interesting in the slightest because they had been shown already.

The experience overall was rather boring, the script loses track of the rules it establishes, and pretty quickly it ends up breaking them and not abiding by them. As if that isn’t bad enough, the script begins to sporadically throw new rules into the game at convenient moments, to try and counter act the flaws of the script. The dialogue along with the writers attempt at constructing a story is actually laughable. It gets so messy towards the end, that things just simply don’t make sense. It’s obvious the writers couldn’t make any sense of the events they were creating because once it reaches a certain point in the final act, everything just grinds to a halt so that a really lazy idea can be thrown in, to enable the film to just end. This has one of the most abrupt endings I’ve seen in a long time. It’s rather pretentious becuase it thinks a really smart twist, when it’s nothing but uninspired and lazy. It literally felt like the writers ran out of ideas (not that there were many to begin with), and just decided to end the film at the exact point in which their minds went blank.

Lucy Hale who portrays the lead character Olivia, was really trying and I kind of feel sorry for her. She was really committed in terms of trying to make all of this work, but when you’re given the dialogue this script contains, you’re handicapped. The rest of the cast were as poor as you could expect, the characters themselves were conventional caricatures of the typical teens that are featured in bad horror films like this. There’s the popular one, the cocky one, the one that’s always being sexual in some kind of way. All of that conventional character framework is present. There’s a really poorly executed love triangle between Olivia, Markie and Markie’s boyfriend Lucas. Olivia and Markie are best friends so as you can expect, the idea of the boyfriend being caught in the middle of these two girls, is played up as if it’s compelling drama when it really isn’t. The script tries to sprinkle in a few plot twists in regards to the characters and I found them all to be really predictable. Back to the topic of the dialogue itself, It’s just not accurate to how teens naturally talk. It was often cringeworthy and when the dialogue wasn’t busy being cringeworthy, then that was because it was occupied with spouting out heavy handed and convoluted exposition.

To answer another question you may have, was the film scary? Not in the slightest. The predictability of the whole film and the death scenarios prevent any genuine suspense from being created. Also the smiling demonic faces of those possessed by the game, were just laughable not scary.

Overall Truth or Dare is an incoherent mess that lacks suspense, scares, creativity and so much more. This had the potential to be a fun little horror film, but the finished product is anything but that. You might find enjoyment watching this if you were having a few drinks with some friends looking to endulge in some trash, but if you are thinking of watching this sober then I dare you to stay away from it.

(1 Star out of 5)

T.Graham.

Truth or Dare –  Starring Lucy Hale, Tyler Posey, Violett Beane and Hayden Szeto.

Directed by Jeff Wadlow.

Now showing in cinemas.

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