Blumhouse's Truth Or Dare (2018)
SHOULD I SEE IT?
Teen-targeted, PG-13 rated horror films almost always deliver a big audience, and the curiosity factor will likely make this a big hit.
You're lying to yourself if you've never played Truth or Dare. Now we have a movie about it. Fun!
Fans of Lucy Hale, Tyler Posey, Violett Beane, or other recognizable faces from teen-driven television shows will be looking forward to seeing them on the big screen.
Read below. This is bad, veering into so bad it's good territory, so maybe that will encourage you to see it?
The film makes no sense, offers characters we cannot stand, and delivers one of the most ridiculous endings in recent memory.
The production company put its name first in the title. Perhaps that says everything right there.
As the story goes, when director Jeff Wadlow (Kick-Ass 2) took a meeting with super producer Jason Blum (Happy Death Day, Get Out, Insidious, The Purge), the creator of Blumhouse Productions threw out an idea to him. Asking if he had ever thought of making a movie around the traditional party game Truth or Dare, Wadlow said he had not but was interested. Blum reportedly didn’t have a script, a concept, or even a cast in mind, just the idea to make a movie about the game.
Cut to however many months later and Wadlow has dropped Blumhouse’s Truth or Dare, on Friday the 13th no less. And it does not take long to feel like this thing may have been a) made up on the fly, with b) a script written each morning the crew arrived, and c) the cast getting lines right before Wadlow yells “Action!”
Few films struggle to remember the own rules it creates for itself, but, with four writers tackling the complexities of answering two questions – Truth? Or Dare? – we have some cockamamie story about a group of college BFFs, in their senior year, taking a Spring Break road trip to Mexico.
This scrappy sampling from our next generation includes a serial cheater, a medical student who writes illegal prescriptions, a gay man with a homophobic police officer father, a poster-ready boyfriend-type, some other people I don't remember, and Olivia (Lucy Hale), the Habitat for Humanity volunteer who lets a lie about acquiring shingles be all the reason she needs to leave those counting on her to build houses for disadvantaged people behind, and go get blasted in Mexico with her friends.
As the trip comes to an end, Olivia apparently hasn’t quite cut loose enough and meets Carter, or Dude with Pooling Eyes in Bar (Landon Liboiron). Rebuffing her friends‘ desire to go back to the hotel and get a good night’s rest before heading home (as if…), Olivia and Carter and the crew hike to The Mansion on Top of the Hill, which is actually a hollowed out former convent (of course it is...) where Olivia finds a jar that smells atrocious and everyone gets an uneasy feeling. After fumbling around, Carter tosses out the oh-so-natural “You guys wanna play Truth or Dare?”
Not awkward at all to ask this of strangers. Nope. Not in any way whatsoever.
We of course learn why he asked and once the crew gets back home, things become demented. Olivia sees dozens of people in the campus library approach her saying “Truth or Dare?” with distorted, creepy smiling faces, and suddenly Olivia realizes GUYS. THIS. GAME. THIS TRUTH OR DARE GAME? THIS. IS. REAL. She confirms this moments later by shouting out to everyone that her best friend Markie (Violett Beane) has been cheating on boyfriend Lucas (Tyler Posey) with like everyone.
Sad. But she chose "Truth" so... not her fault.
I would be remiss if I did not mention that the one thing I appreciate about all of this is an unintentionally awesome recurring theme in Blumhouse’s Truth or Dare. Olivia, is a terrible friend to Markie. I lost count how many times this game (and movie) proves Olivia is the worst person on the planet to be friends with, as she reveals information and/or secrets again and again that she has been holding on to, which makes her entire friendship with Markie an absolute sham.
Elsewhere, Annoying Dude, a/k/a Ronnie (Sam Lerner), chooses to not go through with a dare, and endures tragic consequences. Soon thereafter, one-by-one, everyone starts to believe they are cursed and must continue to PLAY. THIS. GAME!
We go back and forth to Mexico, find complete strangers via Facebook searches (a missed opportunity to make a joke out of our social media obsession...), and see random encounters where our tandem of friends have to play the game. As observers, there is plenty of potential for this to be a lot of fun. However, because Wadlow and his proverbial writing room of screenwriters take this garbage so ridiculously seriously, any potential guilty pleasures from watching this are squandered and thrown out of the window.
The acting is torturous, but largely because Hale, Posey, and a modest number of camera-ready faces have less than zero to work with. Plus, the rules change! Apparently, we have a rule that you have to choose “Dare” after two truths, and when people learn that failing to follow through with a dare can get you killed, this group of friends could care less about anyone but themselves.
One of the "best" (?) scenes in movie comes when a friend dies in the arms of another friend from the group. With a lifeless BFF cradled in front of them, the rest of the group begins discussing what they will do next in the game and who has the next turn.
A person just died in front of you, body still rather warm, and now we are going to debate over who’s turn is next and what they might choose?
Wait. Is this a commentary on the selfish nature of the next generation?
No? Never mind.
Other movies will be bad this year, but I wonder if I will find another movie as flat out stupid as this one. Blumhouse’s Truth or Dare has a narcissistic title, terrible acting, scenes which make no sense, and an ending that makes the entire 100-minute endeavor the equivalent of sticking up a middle finger right in people’s faces as they try and listen to you. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if Olivia did that to Markie and then lied about it to her Habitat for Humanity buddies on a trip somewhere.
Because, if you take anything away from this movie, know this: Olivia is a terrible person in a terrible movie about terrible people doing terrible things.
CAST & CREW
Starring: Lucy Hale, Tyler Posey, Violett Beane, Sophia Ali, Landon Liboiron, Nolan Gerard Funk, Sam Lerner, Hayden Szeto, Aurora Perrineau, Tom Choi, Brady Smith, Morgan Lindholm, Gary Anthony Williams.
Director: Jeff Wadlow
Written by: Jillian Jacobs, Michael Reisz, Christopher Roach, Jeff Wadlow (screenplay); Michael Reisz (story).
Release Date: April 13, 2018