There would have been high fives all round in the Blumhouse production office when Truth or Dare was pitched.
The prolific horror brand has a good strike rate with clever concepts – Get Out, Happy Death Day – and there’s huge potential to do something twisted with the party game designed to reveal deep dark secrets and inspire nudie runs. But the truth is, it hasn’t been realised in this tepid offering that pilfers from better genre films like It Follows and Final Destination.
A trip to Mexico turns into a neverending nightmare for a group of spring breakers after they’re lured to a dilapidated church by a mysterious ring-in to play the titular game, which continues to exert its diabolical influence once they return to college.
This demonic version manifests its challenge through smartphone texts, graffiti, or possessed strangers sporting a Joker-like rictus resembling “a messed up Snapchat filter,” as one character puts it. The rules are simple: play by them, or die. Don’t play and you still die.
What might have looked good on paper comes across as arbitrary and ridiculous on screen. The deadly truths and dares that dispatch the cast are as dull as the device-obsessed characters, who are so thinly sketched and stupid, they actually behave like they’re in a movie.
Moreover, for a horror film, there’s very little in the way of scares or creative deaths (even your kid sister is unlikely to be rattled by anything here), and an exposition-heavy third act only serves to make the plot more convoluted than it needs to be.
If you’re looking for another fun, M-rated horror flick with an ’80s vibe like Happy Death Day, this isn’t it.
In cinemas: April 12, 2018
Starring: Lucy Hale, Tyler Posey, Violette Beane
Directed by: Jeff Wadlow