A Look At: Blumhouse’s Truth or Dare

To be trans­par­ent, I went in with low ex­pec­ta­tions to see Truth or Dare, as the well of good Blumhouse hor­ror films has been right dry for what seems nigh on three bloody years out­side of Get Out. Off the bat the first thing I no­ticed, or did­n’t in this case, was any ac­tors I knew. In the case of a show like Gotham, you’ll see Tasha McCauley who plays Gordon’s wife, and Deadpool’s girl­friend in the Merc With A Mouth’s movie and there will for­ev­er be that dis­con­nect when see­ing her in the oth­er… or any­thing else. So this gets bonus points for us­ing more scarce faces. 

On the sub­ject of faces, I’m sure we’re all fa­mil­iar with the spoopy faces where the mouth and eyes are ghoul­ish, de­formed black blobs. Looking at you Grave Encounters.

In Truth or Dare, when the de­mon known as Calyx pos­sess­es the per­son who re­fus­es or fails to play the tit­u­lar game, their face be­comes one of the creepi­est fuck­ing things I’ve seen in a hor­ror film in terms of fa­cial ex­pres­sions go. Tip of the hat to the peo­ple re­spon­si­ble for this.

My ad­van­ta­geous tim­ing al­lowed me to take the film in un­in­ter­rupt­ed or hin­dered by chair kick­ing, nump­ties on the phone, peo­ple yelling at the screen, etc. This had the ef­fect of help­ing me to fo­cus more than usu­al on the score. We all know hor­ror films tend to have over­bear­ing scores — most no­tably in this cat­e­go­ry is Insidious and its bloody violins.

Bad sound de­sign­ers! No more god damned vi­o­lins! ENOUGH! Mark, what you doin’? I said no more vi­o­li– okay that’s it!

Ahem. As I was say­ing…  this flick’s score was sub­tle most of the time and only picked up when things ei­ther got in­cred­i­bly tense or a plot arc was reach­ing an apex. The best scores for these kinds of hor­ror flicks tend to be un­der­stat­ed, and this works to the ben­e­fit of Truth or Dare.

As far as the act­ing is con­cerned, over­all it was not too spec­tac­u­lar, but also not bad enough to take away from the qual­i­ty of the film. However, there were a cou­ple of cas­es of act­ing which ex­celled in my view. An hon­or­able men­tion would be Ronnie (played by Sam Lerner), who was no­tably skilled at por­tray­ing a skeevy, yet per­sis­tent knob­head. The best act­ing in my eyes, by far, came from Markie (played by Violett Beane). As the movie went on, it be­came clear that her strengths are show­ing the emo­tion­al toll of be­tray­al and soul crush­ing lies. Her con­fronta­tions with Olivia and her on­screen boyfriend (played re­spec­tive­ly by Lucy Hale and Tyler Posey), and her mo­ments of self-reflection drew me in emo­tion­al­ly and made me care about some­one in one of these things for once.

Not the best, but not the worst, the ac­tors as­sem­bled here do a enough of a good job as to not dis­tract from the flick

This may in part be due to the fact that one rea­son for her pain was ex­treme­ly re­lat­able. Having a lay­er of pos­si­bly re­lat­able emo­tion in a hor­ror film, be­sides fear or mor­bid cu­rios­i­ty, is some­thing more of them need. 

More of­ten than not, hor­ror films have too long of a build up to the first scare or ma­jor event. Thankfully, the build up in Truth or Dare is around thir­ty min­utes — leav­ing near one full hour for things to ramp up even fur­ther. This was a nice break from what seems to be the typ­i­cal and painful­ly slow buildup fol­lowed by hav­ing every­thing thrown at you in one thir­ty minute or so win­dow that some of the more cook­ie cut­ter of hor­ror flicks I’ve been catching. 

If we were a site that rat­ed things, the high­est rat­ing I’d be able to give it is a 7 out of 10. It would have got­ten an eight had there been more scares and more no­tably great cas­es of act­ing. What saves it from drop­ping to a 6 is a sur­pris­ing­ly de­cent plot, with some nice side sto­ries like that be­tween Markie, Olivia, etc, which helped to bring an ex­tra lay­er to the sto­ry. One which got es­pe­cial­ly dark, mor­bid and rather twist­ed at times.

If I can say one thing more, it’s that I dare you to defy what you might have read from film “journos” and give this movie a chance. No games about it, the truth is that Truth or Dare is worth a watch.

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Nathan Pulham

A frost­back by birth, English by blood. Pun mag­is­ter and in­ter­me­di­ate shoop­er with a se­ri­ous pas­sion for the wrestling busi­ness and a love of red hot takes. On PlayStation un­der Juicer873 (ref­er­ence to that old rac­ing game Juiced 2: Hot Import Nights. Yes, it was that bloody good.) Uploads his best match­es from WWE video games to YouTube for the shits, gig­gles and pos­ter­i­ty and is found on Steam un­der Slotter Otter. Pun pro­fi­cient pain in the ass painter. Dynasty Warriors Die-Hard — Hack n Slash Heroin Addict

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