Olivia (Lucy Hale) plans to build houses with Habitat for Humanity for Spring Break, but her roommates Markie (Violett Beane) and Penelope (Sophia Ali) along with their boyfriends Lucas (Tyler Posey) and Tyson (Nolan Gerard Funk) and homosexual friend Brad (Hayden Szeto) force her to come to Mexico instead. One in a foreign land the gang get down to fun which is occasionally awkward as Olivia has a thing for Lucas but cares enough about Markie to stop her from cheating on Lucas while drunk. Olivia meets the charming Carter (Landon Liuboiron) who convinces her and her friends to visit an abandoned monastery for a game of Truth Or Dare. Sleaze ball Ronnie (Sam Lerner) tags along.
The game of Truth or Dare causes drama among the group and before Carter leaves them he tells them the game is real and will kill them if they lie in a truth, don’t do a dare, or refuse to play. It’s not long before they discover this to be the truth when Olivia sees a roomful of people with creepy faces who force her to announce Markie’s been cheating on Lucas, Ronnie kills himself after refusing a dare, and Lucas has “Truth or Dare?” burned into his arm before playing along! The group works together to try finding answers on why this is happening, how to stop it, and try keeping each other alive. Their journey forces them to cross paths with others who’ve played before while the game forces them to reveal truths that tear their friendships apart, perform death-defying dares, kill them off, and put them in the crosshairs of the local police.
If any of this feels like a movie with too many characters, you’d be right! There’s a plethora of main characters and that cast list essentially doubles when all the speaking secondary roles are included into the mix. That’s a lot of people to keep track of, let alone care about. I’ll admit that each character felt like their own individual persona, so at least one bit of kudos to the filmmakers there. Sadly, the personalities and good-looking cast are the only good things I have to say.
This movie was an absolute mess. I was really hoping to enjoy the film because the trailer looks intense and awesome with a pretty simple premise – a game of Truth or Dare where you can actually loose and the stakes are your life – that’s badass! The end product didn’t really deliver, though. While the filmmakers tried hard to make it have emotional stakes beyond just “OMG my friend just died”, these threads felt forced and ended up being unintentionally funny to the point the audience was laughing hysterically during scenes obviously meant to be serious.
Even worse was the desperate attempts to explain why the game itself was so deadly, as opposed to every other time it was played in the past. These came off as cheesy and only added more convolution when it came time to figuring out how to stop the game and save all their lives (or least the lives of the people still remaining).
The dialogue is absolutely horrible and so on-the-nose it hurts. I’d like to blame the actors, but most are culled from pretty decent TV shows (like Teen Wolf, The Flash, Pretty Little Liars, Grey’s Anatomy and more). No, the fault here lies solely with the writers, one of which is a newbie though the other three have fairly impressive credits under their belts making me wonder how such material could’ve come from their computers – especially when one of them (Jeff Wadlow) also directed it.
Even more surprising is how this piece of garbage got past producer Jason Blum. I know he’s got his hands full with countless projects at the moment, but he’s known for putting out only the highest quality flicks even when it’s trite group-of-friends-who-die-horrible horror. This is the first time I’ve been embarrassed to be watching a Blumhouse Production!
The trailer did a great job to get butts in the seats. That’s the power of great marketing. Unfortunately, Truth or Dare not only doesn’t live up to the hype of its marketing promises, it’s an all-around terrible movie. Don’t bother. Even the kills are mediocre at best, which are really the only reasons to see a movie like this. This had “straight-to-DVD” written all over it, but still managed to sneak into theaters anyway; after the opening weekend, there’s bound to be a lot of people daring the studio to refund their wasted cash.