Film: “Truth and Dare”; Director: Jeff Wadlow; Cast: Lucy Hale, Violett Beane, Tyler Posey, Hayden Szeto, Landon Liboiron, Sophia Ali, Nolan Gerard Funk; Rating: **1/2
Director Jeff Wadlow’s “Truth or Dare” is more of a lukewarm, predictable thriller than a horror film.
It is about a group of friends who reluctantly get drawn into a web of danger while playing a harmless game of “Truth or Dare.”
The film takes a cliched route following Olivia (Lucy Hale) who is coaxed by her best friend Markie (Violett Beane) to join their group of closest friends on a trip to Mexico during their spring break before “life tears us apart”.
While the group is having fun at a bar lounge, Olivia meets a stranger — a hunky dude named Carter (Landon Liboiron) who convinces her and her friends to accompany him to an abandoned castle.
He draws them into playing the game of Truth or Dare. The rules are simple; “Tell the truth or you die. Do the dare or you die. If you refuse to play, you die.”
Horrified, the teens confront him, after which he admits to trapping them in some strange curse. He confesses to doing this because, “I’m okay with strangers dying so that I can live.”
Back in their college campus, the group, after bouts of hallucinations realise that the game has followed them back home through some kind of supernatural evil. They realise that both the truths and the dares are tailored to the players which are designed to ruin their relationships or kill them trying.
The commands of the game are delivered by familiar faces that contort into evil smiles, looking, as one character puts it, “like a messed up Snapchat filter”.
Soon, Lucy realises, “what you see is not real only the consequences are real”. They also realise that “we are not playing it, it is playing us.”
But, by the end of it, the entire process; by-the-numbers, of trying to save themselves from being killed becomes staid, foreseeable and unintentionally silly.
While the performances are perfunctory and lacklustre, the production values inclusive of the CGI effects, definitely reek of a low-budget film.
Overall, coming from the makers who gave us horror films like “Get Out”, “Insidious”, “The Purge”, “Split”, “Paranormal Activity” “Sinister” and “The Gift”, this one is a mediocre-fare and childish diversion, which does not seem original or exciting.