I took one for the team and saw Blumhouse’s Truth Or Dare so that you don’t have to. I actually went into the theater cautiously optimistic about this one. I should not have.
To be fair it did have a couple of things going for it, an interesting premise and Blumhouse. I knew there was a chance that it was going to be bad. It’s a slick, PG-13 movie full of young beautiful people I have never heard of but it did have that Blumhouse name. As a matter of fact, it seemed to have the same ingredients as last year’s Happy Death Day and I had a blast watching that one. So what went wrong here?
The biggest issue is the script. You can have a great premise and all the gorgeous people in Hollywood but if you don’t have a good script, you don’t have anything. Turns out, Truth Or Dare has nothing.
The film opens by introducing us to Olivia. She is the stereotypical final girl. She is cute, smart and sweet. Oh man is she sweet. In the opening scene we learn that she is going to skip Spring Break in Mexico with her friends in order to build houses for Habitat For Humanity. Her friends convince her to go to Mexico and once they are there they get suckered into a never ending, life or death game of truth or dare.
I think the cast is good. It’s hard to tell because they aren’t given anything to work with. None of the characters are fleshed out into real people. They all have one basic trait and exist only so the game can force them to do and say things they don’t want to or so that it can kill them. The few times that they did try to layer in some backstory or depth for these characters it was through awkward, forced exposition. It really felt like I was watching a first draft of a screenplay.
There is a vocal contingent of the horror community that hates PG-13 horror movies. I’m not among that group. In fact, I think that having to work within the constraints of a PG-13 rating can force filmmakers to think outside the box and lead to some interesting moments. As we have all heard a thousand times, what you imagine is going to be much scarier than anything you can be shown. If you are a fan of gore, this movie is not going to do anything for you. Hardly anything is shown onscreen. There are a couple of cheap jump scares but not enough to ruin the film. The creepiest thing in the movie is that extra wide smile that comes over the character’s faces when they are taken over by the game. The problem is that it is used multiple times throughout and by about halfway through the movie you barely even notice it anymore.
Truth or Dare has the parts to be an interesting movie. The premise opens up an almost unlimited world of imagination for the filmmakers, it’s well shot, the cast seems capable of delivering solid performances and it’s in the hands of a company that we have come to trust. All of this adds up to nothing in the end though because the screenplay doomed things from the start.