Blumhouse, the studio that PARANORMAL ACTIVITY built, is a horror movie factory lately. In 2017, they had 12 films, including the Oscar-nominated GET OUT. So like most of the heavy hitters (Paramount, Fox, Disney, etc.), it’s expected that they’ll trot out a few stinkers to make a quick buck or simply test the waters. TRUTH OR DARE is one of those cheap properties that made a very big quick buck.
Blumhouse also isn’t shy about making a sequel or two, especially when the box office receipts give the green light. TRUTH OR DARE will certainly get a sequel after making nearly 95 million dollars against a budget three and a half million dollar budget. It was one of my heavy heart realizations after watching this film. Those kinds of numbers are in large part thanks to the movie’s mild PG-13 rating. This Blu-ray appears to be taking things up a notch by including the ‘R’ rated version of the film, but it’s not. It’s only adding a little bit of CGI blood, making you wonder if it’s more visually disturbing for the viewer if a movie has fake computerized blood or fake time-intensive-practical-effects blood. I’m going with the latter.
The story is cut and dry. A group of friends head to Mexico for one last college Spring Break hurrah. During another heavy night of drinking, they’re lured to an abandoned church by a kindly bar patron who offers them some offbeat, juvenile fun. The promise of something unconventional turns out to be a simple game of truth or dare, which everyone is hesitant to play because of how lame the prospect is. But after minimal persuasion, the group of friends cave in to playing at least one round. Everything goes as planned until they’re all informed that they’ve actually been tricked by the bar patron, and they’re now all cursed by a demon.
It seems straightforward. The demon, Calux, forces its victims caught up in the curse to play truth or dare and if the participants don’t complete the truth or dare, they kill themselves. But there’s a lot of “what ifs” so the demon also has thrown in several caveat including the rule that participants can’t simply choose truth all the time to avoid a dangerous dare. Replace ‘Death’ with ‘Calux’ and you’ve got yourself a sloppy FINAL DESTINATION, but at least the kills in FINAL DESTINATION were gruesome and memorable.
The curse usually has the demon inhabit a nearby human as it asks the cursed individual “truth or dare.” My first thought was that the crooked smile of the possessed was like a bad Snapchat filter. I didn’t think the film would confirm my critique by having a character literally refer to it as a bad Snapchat filter. It’s the kind of self-deprecating humor the movie could have used more of, or not at all. Instead most of the film is spent playing everything so safe, that it ends up becoming frustrating instead of rising to the level of simple satisfaction.
I have to give a little credit where credit is due; the scare-free horror leaves itself open to a sequel in the one of the more amusing ways it could have. It’s actually a plus that the film settles on a stereotypical Millennial conceit. I guess you could call it a silver lining, but not a big enough moment to be the film’s saving grace. TRUTH OR DARE is still devoid of fun, terror, and cheese. Maybe I was missing the right amount of friends and alcohol to enjoy this one, much like a game of truth or dare.
Video: (1080p HD Widescreen 2:39:1) The film is slick and surprisingly well shot, despite the bad Snapchat filter moments. It comes through wonderfully on this Blu-ray.
Audio: (English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1) The audio is well-balanced and I never had to monkey with my remote.
Game On: The Making of TRUTH OR DARE (6:49): The cast and crew give a quick rundown of the creation of this film.
Directing the Deaths (4:15): Not an exciting feature because the deaths aren’t exciting. But if you found the deaths passable, you might find this feature equally passable.
Audio Commentary with Co-Writer/Director Jeff Wadlow and Actress Lucy Hale: While I didn’t find the movie enjoyable, I actually enjoyed the commentary. I think it’s because both of these people are relatively new to the game and they offer a bit of insight when it comes to feeling things out and finding their own unique voice and confidence.