Sunday, February 16, 2020

Truth or Dare

Movie Name: Truth or Dare
Year of Release: 2018
Director: Jeff Wadlow
Starring: Lucy Hale, Tyler Posey, Violett Beane, Hayden Szeto, Sophia Ali, Nolan Gerard Funk, Landon Liboiron, Sam Lerner, Tom Choi, Gregg Daniel, Brady Smith
Genre: Horror, Thriller
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 2
View the Trailer

Synopsis and Review:
Production studio Blumhouse and producer Jason Blum, continue to deliver their eclectic roster of films, this one more in the vein of what originally started the production facility (the success of "Paranormal Activity" put the studio on the map, back in 2007). The film follows a group of college friends who go on a vacation in Mexico. While there they get tangled with a stranger who manages to convince them to participate in a game of truth or dare in the ruins of a mission. What they don't realize is that the game is a lethal one,  since there's a supernatural entity playing with them, and claiming lives whenever they don't abide by the rules of the game. Olivia, the original target, and the central character in the narrative, tries to unveil the roots of the game and escape its deadly claim.
Jeff Wadlow has, thus far, directed mostly forgettable fare, and sadly "Truth or Dare" can be filed under the same cannon. Unlike other efforts hailing from Blumhouse, such as the "Insidious" series, or more illustrious films the studio has produced such as Jordan Peele's "Get Out", Damien Chazelle's "Whiplash" and more recently, Spike Lee's "Blackkklansman", "Truth or Dare" tries to fit the bill of the small budget horror feature, with few pretensions but lots of scares. While the lack of pretensions is indeed on display, so are the lack of scares, lack of character dimension, and general lack of interest in the universe that is created by the director. All the characters are generic, contrived, and lack motivation, insight and depth to hold much interest during the entire feature. What Wes Craven was able to do with his classic "A Nightmare on Elm Street", was define American suburbia, and introduce a charismatic figure of evil, one that disrupted the superficial good natured aspect of that same suburbia, while also exposing some of the familial relationships between parents and their offspring. "Truth or Dare" aims to mostly illustrate the mechanics of a supernatural entity, who rapidly destroys the thin ties of friendship between these characters. It's difficult for audiences to create empathy with characters or their journeys, when so little of them have been demonstrated or established. It's an instantly forgettable endeavor from a studio that typically delivers on scares and on well crafted features.