Truth or Dare (2018)

I laughed my way through Truth or Dare, a “horror” movie in the sense that it’s a trainwreck almost from minute one and it’s going to leave a black mark on the careers of everyone involved in its production, assuming anyone cares enough to remember it exists. It’s tiring, not even a little bit scary, full of dumb characters played by over-actors, and gets progressively less interesting as time goes on to the point that, by the midway point, you kind of hope everyone dies just so you can stop watching it.

If you’ve seen the trailer, you’ve already watched about 90% of the important parts of Truth or Dare. It’s a film that revolves around a group of twentysomethings who play a game of “Truth or Dare” in a church and get cursed to play the game “for realsies” or they’ll die. They have to say a truth or do a dare, or they die. And, arbitrarily, the game will only let you pick “truth” twice in a row; the next person has to choose “dare.” People start dying, and the remaining players have to try to figure out how to break the curse.

If you thought that this premise could allow for some creative dares/kills, as well as provide a good way to develop its characters through their most intimate secrets, you’d be more clever than the film’s four screenwriters, since they decided to pepper it with bland dares/kills and lacking characters who change personality based on what the scene requires. The result? A lot of boredom, and a lot of questions like “why are you acting this way given the situation that has presented itself?”

This is also a movie that thinks it’s a lot smarter than it is. You’ll likely figure out how it ends way before it wants you to, especially if you devote at least half of your attention to it. Does a line sound like it’s important and foreshadowing? Take a guess what it leads to given the minute amount of consistent detail we know about its characters. Chances are, you’ll be right. It wants to be this big “hey, look at what we capitalized on” payoff and it just … isn’t.

Many of the deaths were spoiled in the trailer, because advertising is evil. They’re not very good deaths, anyway, and it does feel like the PG-13 rating played a role in the lack of impact they have. They’re mostly bloodless, the camera has to be careful how much it can show—not a lot, it turns out—and, besides that, they’re pretty uncreative, overall. Slipping, stabbing, and shooting make up most of them. You could have almost unlimited creativity with the “dare” mechanic and it goes severely underutilized.

Truth or Dare is a dumb movie that thinks it’s much more clever than it ultimately is. It follows a bunch of inconsistently written dummies as they try to not die from a cursed game that had the potential to have boundless creativity and depth, but has little of either. Its actors aren’t very good—the lack of characters they’re playing doesn’t help—and it isn’t at all scary. Mostly, it’s laughable. There are a couple of intentional jokes, but the majority of them were not. Truth or Dare is a really bad horror movie.

Conclusion: Truth or Dare had all the potential in the world and capitalizes on almost none of it.

Recommendation: Just watch the trailer; it contains about 90% of the important parts.

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