Truth or Dare (3 stars)

Truth or Dare

Creepy, fast-paced horror that sends out some mixed messages amidst the grisly shenanigans

Blumhouse continue their winning streak of low budget horrors with this effectively creepy teens-in-peril shocker. While lacking the sophistication of the production company's finest work (it's no Get Out, say), it's a perfectly serviceable Friday night chiller.

Singer / actress Lucy Hale plays college student Olivia, who's roped into a game of 'Truth or Dare' in a deserted Mexican mission while on spring break with her friends. However, it's soon revealed that the game has deadly consequences, as a demonic entity ensures that anyone who tells a lie or refuses a dare meets a nasty end.

Hale makes an appealing lead and the attractive cast fulfil their roles nicely, even if the somewhat heavy-handed moralising (drinking is wrong, kids) makes it a little too easy to predict the order of the deaths. The script does a decent job of staying one step ahead of the audience in terms of inventive twists and turns, but trips over itself when it comes to the ethical element of the story, ending up sending out some decidedly mixed messages. (Perhaps that's the point but, if so, it's one that the screenplay should have sharpened).

On the plus side, the pacy direction from Jeff Wadlow (Kick-Ass 2) means that the film sustains its initial momentum and the death sequences are suitably nasty, aided by some nifty sound design work. It also cleverly includes a built-in critique of its own slightly dodgy-looking VFX – the questions in the game arrive via a demon speaking through possessed bystanders, with a sinister face effect described by one of the characters as being 'like a messed-up Snapchat filter'.

Without giving too much away, Truth or Dare also deserves credit for the sheer chutzpah of its ending, which simultaneously functions as a blackly comic punchline, a cheeky reference to a well-known horror movie and a door being thrown wide open for a sequel.

General release from Fri 13 Apr.

Truth or Dare

  • 3 stars
  • 2018
  • USA
  • 1h 40min
  • 15
  • Directed by: Jeff Wadlow
  • Cast: Lucy Hale, Tyler Posey, Violett Beane

Olivia (Hale) is roped into a game of Truth or Dare while on spring break in Mexico with her friends, but a demon takes over the game. Hale is an appealing lead and although the script has some heavy-handed moralising, the death sequences are suitably nasty and the ending is sheer chutzpah.