Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Review: "Truth or Dare" is hardly daring and not truthful

Truth or Dare Review

Horror had a pretty good year in 2017. It was a year of a few minor surprises, and the year we really got Stephen King right. "A Quiet Place" made a big splash last month, and it seems like in general the genre has been moving in some sort of good direction. Blumhouse has been making a name for itself the last few years. So much so, that now its a studio that has become a brand. No easy feat that, especially in a world of franchise blockbuster filmmaking. So it confuses me that the studio would waste time bringing together something so half-assed. Something like "Truth or Dare."

As I describe the plot to you, you are going to think that I am pulling a prank on you. You are not going to believe that something so intrusive is real. You'll think that the idea came from a group of edgy teenagers, not grown-ups working in the movie business. But let's get into it, shall we? Olivia (Lucy Hale), Markie (Violett Beane), Penelope (Sophia Ali), Brad (Hayden Szeto) and Ronnie (Sam Lerner) are all very close friends who are about to graduate from college. They are your typical, unlikable young lot, the type of people you know are going to spend the next two hours making lots of bad decisions. They go on a Spring Break trip together, and have lots of mindless, college kid fun. Olivia meets Carter (Landon Laboiron) who takes them to a secluded, deserted spot after the bars close down on their last night. He asks them to play an innocent game of Truth or Dare. Things begin innocent, turn a little touchy with information, then a shade dark when Carter suggests that they all will die. They go back home not thinking anything of it. That's until they begin hallucinating, and begin to realize that Carter put some kind of curse on them. If the friends don't continue the game of Truth or Dare, they will die.

There was a movie that came out when I was in hire school, called "Stay Alive." Which was about a cursed video game where if your character died in the game, you died in real life. It was a silly, silly premise, and it lead to a silly, silly movie. I kind of liked "Stay Alive" in a guilty pleasure sort of manner, simply because it was a movie that knew what it was. "Truth or Dare" gets embarrassing to watch due to this movie taking itself too seriously. So what, there is an evil spirit going around possessing people, smiling really big, and asking people to continue a cursed game. Its going to take a lot more than that for my hair to raise, and the movie doesn't even try. It wants you to take it seriously, then expects us to be scared of people smiling?

It doesn't help that zero of the characters are likable. How is the audience supposed to care about a group of dumb young people dying if the movie doesn't take the time to make sure the audience cares about them. It's the trick that makes or breaks a horror movie, and "Truth or Dare" fails completely. Simply put, I don't give a good goddamn about any of these kids. They are all secretly jerks to one another, even though they are close friends. They all like each others crushes. Some of them are dating, but cheating at the same time. Why the hell should I care if any of these assholes start dying? There is nothing redeemable about any of them. Even Olivia, who apparently was meant to be the moral center of this movie, keeps a pretty big secret for most of the movie, that only leads to her best friend getting mad at her. Pretty quickly, the movie stops feeling like a horror movie, and starts feeling more like a MTV reality show.

There isn't anything close to range that any of these kids are asked to do, so judging their acting is a bit of a chore. Its the type of acting you always see in horror movies about dumb kids. It could have been done by anyone, so who really cares? "Truth or Dare" really ends up being another forgettable horror movie, very inconsequential.


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