One could make the argument that Blumhouse is the hottest production company in Hollywood these days. Coming closely on the heels of three huge hits including Split, Get Out, and Happy Death Day, Blumhouse certainly has struck chord with audiences seeking mayhem and horror over the last year. And later this year, they plan to release a sequel to Halloween, which is one of the most beloved horror franchises of all time. All of that being said, however, production companies are not perfect and are expected to have blunders: Case in point with Truth or Dare, the latest horror movie from Blumhouse. Unfortunately, Truth or Dare is one of the company’s most forgettable titles to date and fumbles a great concept, and the result in a silly, PG-13 rated melodrama horror audiences are likely to forget within hours of seeing it.
Olivia, Lucas, and a group of their college friends travel to Mexico for one last getaway before graduation. While there, a stranger convinces one of the students to play a seemingly harmless game of truth or dare with the others. Once the game starts, it awakens something evil — a demon which forces the friends to share dark secrets and confront their deepest fears. The rules are simple but wicked — tell the truth or die, do the dare or die, and if you stop playing, you die.
Most of the movie’s “truth or dare” scenarios are spoiled in the footage audiences have seen in trailers of Truth or Dare leading up to the movie’s release. With movie trailers containing more and more spoilers with every passing year, Truth or Dare is the latest example of showing too much to generate hype, anticipation, and built up for a movie. Aside from a couple of twists and turns, you know how just about every scenario will play out during each character’s turn in the game.
When it comes to the horror aspect of Truth or Dare, you will find yourself laughing more than screaming, especially every time the creepy smile appears on a character’s face letting audiences know that it’s someone else’s turn in the game. With few scares and a Snapchat filter-looking face for the evils of the game (Snapchat is even mentioned in the movie in relation to the creepy faces), the movie would have worked better if it went all out as an R-rated movie instead of being held back via quick cuts/breakaways to ensure a PG-13 rating. While you don’t have to have an R rating for every horror movie released to make for a great movie (like last week’s A Quiet Place), Truth or Dare could have benefitted from an R rating in order to show audiences an all-out gore/violent fest for the scenarios that see characters dropping like flies, one-by-one, when they fail to play the game the right way.
Along with knowing how most things will play out and the bad horror results, Truth or Dare also tries mix it all together with a few melodramatic moments college students face when truth scenarios play out during the chaotic game that zig-zags audiences from one less believable character to the next. When you combine horror with college student-age drama and acting that is barely believable, you basically have yourself a borderline TV-quality movie. And given some of the acting here, it’s no wonder Lucy Hale is the only actor who has a character that feels somewhat believable. While Hale has shown flashes of potential away from the silver screen, it doesn’t help that she’s not given much to work with here in terms of a script or a cast that is for the most part awful (minus one character, Ronnie, played by Sam Lerner, who dies way too early in the movie).
In recent years, Blumhouse has turned great concepts into entertaining horror movies (and other genres as well) that result in success with critics and audiences. With Truth or Dare, the concept of a harmless game being given a horror twist sounded great on paper. But when you combine a number of elements that are either head-scratching or laughable, the results make for an eye-rolling experience that only offers hints of a good movie buried far beneath the surface; for example, the ending is one of the only few good things about the movie. Given their history of making cash cows with low-budget movies, Blumhouse is sure to make a profit from Truth or Dare. But the truth is they could have done so much more with this concept if only they had made more daring decisions. And that is the true horror story here.