Truth or Dare (2018)

Truth or Dare
Director: Jeff Wadlow
Writer: Michael Reisz, Jillian Jacobs, Christopher Roach, Jeff Wadlow
Cast: Lucy Hale, Tyler Posey, Violett Beane, Hayden Szeto, Sophia Ali, Nolan Gerard Funk, Landon Liboiron, Sam Lerner, Tom Choi, Aurora Perrineau
Seen on: 21.5.2020

Olivia (Lucy Hale) lets herself get dragged along on spring break to Mexico by Markie (Violett Beane), her best friend, who insists that they have one last bash together with their friends before university is over. Olivia had other plans, but she finds that she does enjoy herself, especially when she meets Carter (Landon Liboiron). Looking for a new thrill, Carter suggests to the group that they could all head to a special place: ruins of a monastery. Once there, they start to play Truth or Dare. But even when they leave and say that they want to quit playing, the game has other ideas – and the stakes grow ever higher.

I didn’t expect much of Truth or Dare (I mostly watched for Lucy Hale), but even so what I got was pretty underwhelming. It’s just generally a meh kind of film.

The film poster showing Olivia (Lucy Hale) in black and white with a big pink question mark superimposed.

Most people in the Western world have probably played Truth or Dare (or a variation thereof) when they were teens, so using it for a teenie slasher is a rather obvious move. And the movie itself never moves past the obvious here, unfortunately. I do think that there would have been room for a little character cleverness, but then the script would have needed to invest a little more into said characters instead of remaining at the surface with all of them.

But it wouldn’t just have done the movie good in terms of making the risks of the game, of telling the truth, seem less contrived. Generally it would have enabled the audience much better to feel with the characters and to fear for them. It’s such an essential ingredient in any film, but especially horror films: if we’re not afraid for the characters, we’re probably not afraid at all. And then what’s the point?

Olivia (Lucy Hale) peering at something in the ruins.

The film is short and does have its moments. The grinning face effect is pretty good and there is one moment where a video is suddenly part of the game – that was nicely done. But other than that, it often felt to me like I looked more often at my watch than at the film itself.

Overall, I’d say it’s a film that can be safely skipped. Even if Lucy Hale is gorgeous and Tyler Posey did trigger a bit of Teen Wolf nostalgia for me. But that’s not enough to make a movie worth watching.

Olivia (Lucy Hale), Brad (Hayden Szeto), Lucas (Tyler Posey) and Markie (Violett Beane) looking at a computer screen.

Summarizing: Leave it.

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