Blumhouse Productions is a famous horror film production company, they mainly focus on producing cheap generic horror flicks that appeal to younger audiences. As although there is the occasional gem in their collection such as: ‘Sinister’ or ‘Get Out’. It’s definitely few and far between, with ‘Truth or Dare’ being one of their most recent entries… and easily one of their worst to date.
The story focuses on a group of young friends as they play a harmless game of truth or dare during their trip to Mexico on spring break, that is until the game turns deadly when someone (or something) begins to punish those who tell a lie or refuse to do the dare they are given.
This now dull concept has been seen a thousand times before, as the idea of a group of teenagers playing an evil game is nothing new, as films such as: ‘Oujia’ prove. As the story plays out almost exactly as you would expect, making it extremely predictable throughout its runtime. The film is also one of Blumhouse’s least scary entries to date, focusing entirely on jump-scares without any attempt to build tension or create an eerie atmosphere. The film also chooses to use a ‘terrifying’ CGI smile effect on the character’s faces to replicate them being possessed, and due to the low-budget of the film, this effect looks laughably awful.
Unfortunately, the characters and cast that portray them are no better than the cliché narrative, as the entire cast of Tyler Posey, Violett Beane and Sophia Taylor Ali are extremely bland. As all the performances throughout the film feel like nothing more than attractive models attempting to be afraid, with Lucy Hale as: ‘Olivia’ being the obvious standout here, purely by elimination, which is more than likely why she was cast as the main protagonist to begin with.
When it comes to the filmmaking, sadly there’s no improvements here either. As each shot from cinematographer Jacques Jouffret is boring and uninspired, with the editing also being very quick choppy at points. All alongside the original score by Matthew Margeson, which is easily the most disappointing element of the film for me, as the soundtrack amounts to nothing more than your usual horror score, with the film’s composer having worked on many great films in the past such as: ‘Kingsman: ‘The Secret Service’ and ‘Eddie the Eagle’.
Of course, it probably goes without saying that the majority of the writing within the film is dreadful, with the script being overflown with cheesy dialogue, over-the-top scenes and stupid character decisions. One character in particular I hated was: ‘Brad’ portrayed by Hayden Szeto, as I disliked this character purely due to the way he was represented, as ‘Brad’s characterisation is purely built entirely around his homosexuality. Without giving him any further development beyond this, which could not only be seen as pandering to some, but also just simply bad writing.
Another issue I have with the film is the extreme lack of violence due to the film’s low age rating, as the film constantly shines away from graphic violence, always cutting to another shot to avoid showing barely any blood or gore. This is a huge mistake for a horror film like this in my opinion, as although implying violence can sometimes be more effective. In a film about a group of unlikeable teenagers getting killed-off, having some creative deaths is at least a great way to satisfy your audience.
Overall, ‘Truth or Dare’ is one of the worst films of 2018 for me, this overdone plot with annoying characters has little charm or entertainment to offer. As it’s bland execution and overall lack of anything interesting feels as if the film is truly nothing more than a complete cash-grab for Blumhouse Productions. Definitely a 1/10, honestly believe you’d find paint drying a more enjoyable experience than this one.