Truth or Dare – 2018

Director Jeff Wadlow
Screenplay by Michael Reisz, Jillian Jacobs, Chris Roach and Wadlow
Starring Lucy Hale, Tyler Posey, Violett Beane, Hayden Szeto, Landon Liboiron, Nolan Gerard Funk, Sophia Ali, Sam Lerner

Since we’re now putting Blumhouse’s name in front of his film, it feels a little like the coming out party when John Cougar felt confident enough to put Mellencamp at the end of his name. It means your doing something right, even if it makes your art a little harder to find on the Fandango or Moviepass apps.

Truth or Dare is an example of what having a good producer can do for an average film. It’s premise is somewhat bland. It has no real scares. There is nothing much happening there except for that “bad snapchat filter” gimmick that represents the demon’s smile. Still, it hits every base cleanly, and provides enough for the teenage YouTube crowd the film was marketed to so thoroughly.  Really, that’s the most you can ask for when the star of your film is one of the Pretty Little Liars.

The story revolves around a game started in an abandoned church in Mexico on Spring Break. Sure, it’s not where any of these collegian revelers thought they’d be hanging out. They dragged Olivia down here away from her “Habitat for Humanity” plans, so, if the guy she meets at the club insists and she agrees, the rest of the young-ins better play along.

The next thing you know, the game follows the kids back to their school and starts pushing its way through each of them. At first it seems like they might be onto something (always pick Truth!) but a couple things conspire to prevent this from happening. This ends up making the film a bit more interesting.

We find out the cause of the mischief is indeed a demon. The story of its unleashing is somewhat what you’d expect, but it’s consistent and makes a certain amount of sense.

None of the acting here is going to win any awards. It’s just in the range of the CW shows from which they borrowed the majority of the acting talent. If I were to pick a light horror flick for my daughter to be watching without my knowing about it, at least this one has a solid, if unspectacular story.

If it’s not a stirring recommendation, still it is a recommendation.

So this is not a great movie for Blumhouse to slap his name on top of, but at least he shows he can make a bad film a little less so.

(*** out of *****)

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