Review: Blumhouse's "Truth Or Dare" Starring Lucy Hale

Horror is a genre that definitely has ebbs and flows in both popularity and quality, from the 50’s sci-fi/horror phase to the glorious superstar monsters of the 80s, all the way up to the current generation of supernatural horror that has been, without a doubt, lead by Jason Blum and his Blumhouse Productions brand. 20 years from now when they are defining horror in the 2010’s Blumhouse that leads the mentions in quality scares. In a way, that’s why this flick is so important, this is the first of what I’m sure will be many films with the title accolade of “Blumhouse Presents”. Not that one bad movie can sully the name, but it would be a plus to come out of the gate with an insta-classic. You can probably already guess from the title that this isn’t a classic, but is it worth a watch?

Oh that classic teenage game that results in one of three things, having to divulge your crush to a large group, streaking, or the ever popular getting two girls to kiss. You know, I started writing that line as a joke but now that I think of it….they do all three of those things during the movie. Guess I wasn’t too office base. Lucy Hale stars as Olivia an over-the-top nice college co-ed who plans on skipping spring break to volunteer with Habitat for Humanity. Her best friend Marky, who is still reeling from the suicide death of her father, is having none of it and convinces her to go with their group to Mexico. On their final night Olivia is playing the wallflower when she meets a guy named Carter at the bar who seems nice enough. After a few drinks and last call their new friend invites her and her group back to an afterparty, one that just happens to take place in an old creepy abandon convent. They arrive to an empty room, which is usually the part where most people would say “screw this, I’m out” but instead decide to go along with Carter’s idea to play Truth or Dare. Some salacious things happen and some secrets are revealed and the crew leave…but the game leaves with them. Soon after arriving back in college they are taunted by strangers and messages out of nowhere with the message “Truth of Dare”. It’s not long before they realize they are still in the game, and if they don’t fulfill their turn they die.

I can’t say that I expected a lot from this flick, you can generally tell a lot about a horror movie based on its premise and trailers, more so then most other genres, but man this one missed the mark. I will say that the cast was good, considering what they were given to work with but that is about the best accolade I can give Truth or Dare. When you make a horror movie you need to have at least one of two things for it to be enjoyable; a great story or good and imaginative kills. The story here is so thin you can almost hear someone pitch it, “Yeah it’s like a drunk game of Truth or Dare except you can die”, and that’s about all the backstory they had to go on. The PG-13 rating is a deathblow to the creative kills option but they didn’t even try in that respect. An inventive filmmaker can show a lot and still get a PG-13 rating but what they did here was so forgettable I can’t even rattle off the different deaths only two days after seeing it. The worst offender of the film has got to be the effect they use to show the demon running the game, he possesses random people to deliver his Truth or Dare message and when he does that person has a giant grin, think of a comic book version of the Joker but without the creepy makeup. It simply does not work. Look, a person glaring at you with a huge smile and dead eyes can be one of the creepiest things this side of a child standing in a dark room all alone but whatever they were going for they didn’t get. It’s comical, maybe it wasn’t unnatural enough to pass the muster, maybe they should have gone bigger, I’m just surprised they didn’t review the effect before release and say…”Yeah, you know what, this isn’t working”. Hell, the characters in the film even refer to it as looking like some messed up snapchat filter, which is exactly what it looks like. It was impossible to take even the most suspenseful of the movies scenes seriously when you are confronted with that smile.

I will say that I didn’t check my watch or become distracted by how numb my butt had gotten, both signs of a movie that is terribly boring, but I can’t say I enjoyed it or that it’s something I’d ever see again. Blumhouse has a good enough reputation at this point that they can take a flop or two and keep on trucking, I’m just praying that this flick is not a sign of things to come with the production company that’s become synonymous with scaring the hell out of people. There are other options out there, given the choice I’d recommend you skip Truth or Dare

Rating: 1.5 Out of 5