Truth or Dare movie review: Everything you don't want in a horror film — cheesy plot, lack of decent scares

Mihir Fadnavis

Apr 20, 2018 13:24:23 IST


With Get Out, A Quiet Place, Ghost Stories, Wildling and Hereditary it seems like this year could well become the peak golden era of modern horror – so it was only expected that there would be one bad film that tries to undo all the good work. Truth or Dare has everything that you don’t want in a horror movie – cheesy plotting, unintentionally hilarious performances, lack of decent scares or gore and irritating teenagers you want to punch in the face.

Like a typical teen slasher the film opens with a group of not very smart kids going on a trip to an exotic location (Mexico in this case) and end up playing the mysterious titular game in a conveniently creepy location. Naturally the game turns out to be cursed and, to no one’s shock, the kids start dying. It is up to the stereotypically blonde-dyed-in-black Final Girl to survive this ignominy and find a way to — gasp — outsmart the curse and remain alive.

A still from Truth or Dare.

In case it wasn’t clear enough to you already, the film plays out like a mashup of Wishmaster, Final Destination and Ouija – but contains all the worst aspects of those films. The problem is there is no payoff to all the dumb stuff that’s happening in the film – generally one would expect to be compensated with at least deliciously gory deaths as a reward for tolerating annoying on screen teenagers, but there’s not a single drop of blood in here.

There aren’t any exciting jump scares or atmospherics either – which brings me to question: is this is a legitimate horror film at all or an after school special with ‘social issues’ explored in tacky ways?

The other issue is that the biggest draw of the film - the spooky stuff – is cartoonish at best. For some reason the ‘possessed’ people in the film have an over the top, contorted, Cheshire cat smile which is as scary as buying a box of onions from an overtly smiling old lady. Every time the visual effect is applied (and it happens throughout the film), we’re meant to be scared but one can’t help but guffaw at how silly it looks.

One wishes the director Jeff Wadlow (Kick Ass 2 – the bad one) embraced the goofiness of the film and made something subversive like Get Out instead of the over-serious shabby fare that Truth or Dare ultimately is.

Everything that happens in the film is targeted towards the post modern millennial generation – like teens using cell phone social media and YouTube, but this is utterly useless because the soul of the film belongs in the '90s — which was anyway parodied by Wes Craven’s Scream movies. Old junk with a new coat of paint and a sticker of attractive young women is still junk, and social commentary on issues like rape and homosexuality tacked on top of junk does injustice to the importance of talking about said issues. You’re better off playing a round of Settlers of Catan than walking into this film.

Updated Date: Apr 20, 2018 13:24:23 IST