The very first scene of Truth or Dare prepares you for what’s lying ahead. Cheap thrills, jump scares, gore, unwanted intimate scenes, probably to please the front-benchers (in a way explains the ‘A’ rating besides the scenes depicting violence that play out on the screen, despite all the muting the film has undergone under the censors) - everything that a badly made ‘B’ grade Hollywood horror movies have or everything that a well-made thriller like Conjuring doesn’t have, whichever way you look at it.
A group of friends decide to take a trip to nowhere (which eventually ends up being Mexico) to while away their Spring Break (vacation for American college-goers). The writers don’t seem to have much inspiration as to taking the story forward – it’s not too long before the friends are reluctantly drawn into a deadly game, which snuffs them one by one, some of which are more amusing than scary. Hell, you can guess death knocking at the characters’ doors even before they could.
A possible redemption could have been a twist in the end, like how RL Stine, who’s mastered the art of thrill would have put it – every story has a beginning, a middle and a twist. Oh no, the movie doesn’t even want us to have that one last happy moment of farewell before we mop about the probable waste of time, money and popcorn. The epilogue falls as flat as the characters in the movie drop dead like nine pins.
To give the devil its due, Lucy Hale (in pic) as the protagonist Olivia Barron, turns in a decent performance, but is terribly let down by shoddy writing. If the makers had thought that the emotional tracks in the film would have at least worked with the audience, well, they haven’t got that right as well with none of them coming close to being convincing or tugging at your heart. Blame it on the clichés.
A genre like horror by default is in need of elevating music to keep the suspense going. Truth or Dare comes a cropper here as well with the visuals not helping much either.
One would have thought that by now Hollywood would have chucked hoodoo to be used as a premise for a horror film, going by the not so favourable reviews that Kate Hudson starrer The Skeleton Key garnered, but we are ‘dared’, pun intended, albeit apologetically. Go for it, but don’t expect to be scared.