Blumhouse’s Truth or Dare (2018)
Writers – Micheal Reisz, Christopher Roach, Jillian Jacobs and Jeff Wadlow
Director – Jeff Wadlow
Runtime – 104 minutes
Why? I hear you ask. Why does this movie need the production companies name preceeding it. Well, give it five to ten years and it’ll stick out amongst the other fifteen movies with (much) the same name because of it. And, wait for it… because it’s also slightly different.
Now not having seen the Jessica Cameron film with the same name I can’t compare the two (it’s high on my ‘must watch’ list). However, I can empart my thoughts on this.
Contrary to popular belief B’sTorD (yea, it deserves an abbreviation) isn’t half bad, it’s obviously not going to garner any honorable mentions and probably won’t appear on many year end lists but it does have a certain ‘attraction’.
Without dwelling on the fact that it abuses a ‘perfect’ teenage collective as protagonists, much like 95% of other recent genre films, it’s also based in California no less. I’ll mention that it mixes brujeria (witchcraft to those not subscribing to Latino folklore/magical practises) spring break antics and stunning tourist ignorance. Think Ruins (the book was much better in my opinion, in case you were wondering), The Manitou (a 1977 film featuring Tony Curtis again a great book, but aged), It Follows (I’m guessing a novelization exists but I’ve yet to hear of it!) and Final Destination and you’ll probably be confused, much like I am (strangely) but this contains elements of each, some unmistakably more pungent in the mix than others.
Without supplying spoilers like baked, glazed, jelly filled, confectioners goods to an eager obese child I’ll state that it rolls at a fluid, easy to follow pace. The characters are believable, mostly likable (if the mere sight of MTV-esque college kids aren’t enough to skyrocket your blood pressure), and the situations are mostly relateable unless of course the viewer has enjoyed a youth devoid of spring break antics, experiences with Demonic forces and found no placement in uncomfortable and often complicated love triangles. Seriously, who amongst us has never heard of the game Truth or Dare? Obviously it works better combined with alcoholic beverages and the (momentary) loss of inhibition and this is exactly where the cast of this film finds themselves in a spot of bother. Yep being a teenager and ignorant go hand in hand like… uh, eating lead paint chips and not being able to tie ones shoelaces. Anyone else out there share a curse? Yea, me neither, apparently I’m not cool enough. But these cats are and the game sticks with them for a while making their everyday existence somewhat trickier. Algebra at 2, Pre-Med at 3 and that annoying curse all damn day!
Add to that hallucinations, various nods to cult movies/genres and off-putting rictus grins which would make even the most ‘smooth’ amongst us shudder and you have a cinematic affair which is intriguing to say the least. Top it all off with an ending that might make a viewer think for a split second. Some might pass it off as a ‘cop out’ but honestly, it’s probably what I would have gone with also. This same finale opens up the floodgates for a never ending slew of sequels and possibilities. Which could be called a ‘win/win’ (depending on your point of view) as seriously, what more could the lazy execs in Hollywood have hoped for? But with all that in mind the movie wasn’t a terribly horrid waste of time in the slightest. I was pleasantly surprised, especially for a movie that doesn’t boast an R rating and didn’t rely on nudity and gore content (neither of which are bad ingredients in my book).
Truth or Dare sports a slew of moments which makes it watchable. The effects are few and far between but effective when used. There’s a shot of a jock playing around on a pool table that’s especially hard to watch, if like me you like pool and appreciate the workmanship put into creating a nice table on which to play, I guess he deserved what he got is really what I’m trying to saying here. On the downside there are a few instances where the film feels like MTV fodder, in other words plenty of OTT perfect spoilt brat teen drama. I’m guessing this is a great many peoples ‘cup of tea’ based on the channels rating, revenue and ability to be able to continue to afford to pump out crap like this, but it’s not something I prefer to be placed in front of (unless the wife is in attendance and Teen Mom is scheduled then I’m royally F’ed!).
This is where the Final Destination films and the similarities found in this part ways. The FD franchise managed to pull it off in a manner I could fully digest whereas this tilted more towards, at times, annoyance levels. With that gripe out of the way by all means give this a moment of your time it’s worth a peek, but don’t say I didn’t warn you about the ‘grins’. They are damn creepy.
Your slave to cinema not always so independent or ‘underground’.
(Editor’s Note: We covered Truth or Dare on the Drunk in a Graveyard podcast Episode 64.)
You can find Cult on twitter.
Send us some shmeckles on our Patreon.
You can find our podcast on iTunes, be sure to leave us a review if you are so inclined.