Film Review: Truth or Dare

Director and co-writer Jeff Wadlow’s Truth or Dare is silly horror fare. Whilst the film is sufficiently entertaining, it fails to generate the scares.

Olivia and her friends take a trip to Mexico for spring break. Whilst there, they are invited to play a game of truth or dare. The game turns deadly, however, when it follows them home…

The latest horror from Blumhouse Productions, Truth or Dare is unlikely to reach the heights of Get Out or Whiplash. Directed by Jeff Wadlow, with a screenplay by Wadlow, Michael Reisz, Jillian Jacobs, and Christopher Roach, the film offers an enticing premise for fans of teen horror. The idea of a cursed game with deadly consequences gives plenty of opportunities for scares and fun set pieces.

Despite the premise, Truth or Dare never really makes the most of these prospects. There are a couple of set ups which engage viewers, yet none of these are particularly memorable. Furthermore, the sequences fail to generate any terror. Whilst playing up set pieces can be a successful strategy, Wadlow does not ramp up the tension sufficiently. Truth or Dare could have emulated the Final Destination franchise’s penchant for teasing viewers with a big lead up to a gory demise. Yet the death toll grows swiftly, and these deaths lack tension or the shock value.

The main characters are given a little backstory, but this does not make them particularly likeable or sympathetic. As a reason for the curse is explored, exposition is delivered in a leaden manner. Pacing in the film is fine, although the lack of tension makes for a less than dramatic final third. The very end of the film eschews the ending expected, and Truth or Dare should be applauded for this. The gimmick of the changing faces is fine, but the film needed more than this to generate fear.

Performances in the film are adequate, with Lucy Hale, Tyler Posey and others looking the part, even if the script is lacking. At times, Truth or Dare generates laughs instead of screams. Although the film is never boring, it is very forgettable.