Truth or Dare (2017) **
Dir.: Jeff Wadlow; Cast: Lucy Hale, Tyler Posey, Violette Bene, Hayden Szeto; USA 2018, 100′.
Director/co-writer Jeff Wadlow is behind the popular Purge franchise with together Blumhouse Productions, and has tried the same thing with Truth or Dare with an that ending hints at a sequel, but is its audience gullible enough. On present form, the answer is probably yes.
On their final Spring Break, a group of college students take a vacation in Mexico, where they are lured into a Truth or Dare game by a mysterious stranger in a spooky church cellar. Retuning home, they soon discover that the game has followed them. If any of the participants refuses a challenge; lies or fails a dare task, she/he is dead. The first victim, Ronnie sets the tone: he is dared to show all, standing up on the pool table, but chickens out. The demon punishes Ronnie with sudden death: he falls of the table and crashes his head in. Perhaps not the most sensational start to a killing spree; but even though blood is not spared, it soon turns out that Truth or Dare is more interested in the hidden secrets of its participants. Does goody-two-shoes Olivia (Hale), who rather would have rather spent a week doing humanitarian work than go to Mexico, really fancy Lucas (Posey), the philandering boyfriend of Olivia’s best friend Markie (Beane)?. And has Olivia also a hand in the suicide of Markie’s father? And then there is Brad (Szeto), who can’t confess to his homophobic cop-father that he is gay, and is duly killed by his Dad’s fellow-cop. Finally. Olivia gets on a trip to Mexico to interview a mute ex-nun, the sole survivor of a massacre in the church where the ordeal first started.
Symbolic for the whole enterprise is a scene where one of the afflicted has to drink a bottle of spirits whilst walking on the roof of the house, spikes looming, and her helpers running along the house with a mattress. Truth or Dare is anything but frightening – very much Scooby Doo meets Gossip Girl. AS
ON GENERAL RELEASE FROM 16 APRIL 2018