Movie Review: TRUTH OR DARE (2018)

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TRUTH OR DARE, the latest film from juggernaut production company Blumhouse, is a hilariously bad attempt at reviving the subgenre of teen horror flicks. The film, which is directed by Jeff Wadlow (Kick-Ass 2), stars a bevy of attractive, bright-eyed, yet unemotional cast that includes Lucy Hale (Scream 4), Tyler Posey (“Teen Wolf”), Violett Beane (“The Flash”), Sophia Ali (“Grey’s Anatomy”), Landon Liboiron (“Hemlock Grove”), Nolan Gerard Funk (Counterpart), Sam Lerner (“The Goldbergs”), and Hayden Szeto (The Edge of Seventeen). 

The film centers around a group of friends who travel to Mexico for their last spring break. Olivia (Lucy Hale) has opted to stay on campus to volunteer for Habitat for Humanity but her bestest friend, Markie (Violett Beane) decides that is not acceptable and forces Olivia to attend their last spring break, because the best friend code extends past helping those in need. With zero backbone to say no, Olivia, Markie, and their group of friends head to Mexico for drinking, dancing, cheating and more. On the last day of the trip Olivia meets Carter (Landon Liboiron), an understanding, attractive young man who saves her from the incessant groveling and sexual advances brought on by her classmate Ronnie (Sam Lerner). As the night starts to wind down, Carter suggests going to an abandoned Mission for a game of Truth or Dare. While there, true intentions bubble to the surface as this simple game of truth or dare becomes one of survival. 

Sigh. Where do I even begin with this review? Look, going into this movie I didn’t have high expectations, but Blumhouse has surprised me in the past with some of their films so I figured it would be best to see how everything unfolds, and honestly, it’s a bit of a hot mess. I understand that making a movie, at any capacity is hard, but when you are making films just for the sake of making money, with barely any passion behind it, you get films like TRUTH OR DARE. Is this the worst film I’ve ever seen? No, but it definitely is one of the laziest. Whether through the writing or the acting, the overall execution of this film felt like everyone involved was phoning it in, knowing that whatever happens it’ll still turn a profit due to its lost cost budget. 

The biggest issue with TRUTH OR DARE comes in the form of the writing. Not only does the film rely heavily on overused horror tropes it also ends in a way that completely abolishes what our main character stands for. However, the biggest cause for concern has to do with Hayden Szeto’s character arc. **SPOILERS AHEAD** Hayden, who plays Brad Chang, is gay but has yet to tell his overbearing, police officer father. The premise of TRUTH OR DARE centers around the idea that if you don’t tell the truth or you don’t do the dare you die. Brad finds himself at a crossroad when he plays the game and is forced to come out to his father. This could have been an opportunity for the writers to really shine a light on acceptance but instead it kind of eludes that telling your loved one you are gay is equal to choosing a dare to murder someone. The message of equality is lost in the execution of this character’s story and it’s beyond disappointing. 

In terms of the acting, I felt as though all the characters were one dimensional and the one character I did really like died early on. Also, the lack of emotion that was conveyed was pretty startling considering how some of them met their demise. I also found myself not really caring about any of these characters because they didn't really have any redeemable qualities. It was almost like TRUTH OR DARE was a big budget Lifetime Movie, filled with cheating scandals and forced chemistry rather than the main issue at hand… you know, the whole survival thing. The drama between Olivia and Markie was so redundant and stupid that a part of me just wanted one of them to die so we could move on from their ludicrous, insignificant storyline and focus on the main issue at hand… you know, not dying. Sure, let’s fight over a man while everyone is dying around us, that seems like a good idea. Sigh. 

Overall, as much as I disliked this movie, it had moments that were entertaining albeit not intentionally. TRUTH OR DARE is one of those films that is so comical, even when it’s not supposed to be, that you can’t help but enjoy parts of it. Between the god awful CGI (people, it’s 2018, if you are going to use CGI, please, for the love of God, get your shit together and make it look good), the reason for the game being cursed, and the infuriating ending, I got nothing. Sure, if you want to laugh at how bad it is, then by all means, go see this movie; however, there are a slew of films with the same premise out there that are MUCH better and are worth your time. Give those films, such as Cheap Thrills, Truth or Dare (2017), and Would You Rather, a view and skip this one. Trust me, you don’t want to play this game. 

Shannon M.

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TRUTH OR DARE arrives in theaters everywhere Friday, April 13.