“Truth or Dare?” is a movie that feels like it belongs in 2005 where Hollywood was churning out abysmal remakes of mediocre Japanese horror movies. And that’s what it felt like I was sitting through. It feels like somewhere there’s an original Japanese version of “Truth or Dare?” that’s sadly not even very good, either. “Truth or Dare?” comes from Blumhouse which is usually great about releasing bold and unique horror movies. Even when they land with a thud, their cinematic experiments usually have potential to impress. “Truth or Dare?” wants to be this modern tech iteration of “It Follows” and “The Ring.” With a competent director and writer, this could very well have been a haunting story about the damaging effect of secrets, trauma, and how we never quite know the people we love.
Olivia goes on spring break with her friends, and while partying, she meets a guy who takes them in to an abandoned church to play a game of “Truth or Dare.” While there, they accidentally (?) unleash the Truth or Dare (I want to say) Demon (??) who devotes its energy to trapping its victims in to a game they can’t win. If they choose truth and lie, they risk losing their lives, and if they choose dare, they’re almost assuredly going to die a horrific death. Or you know: a PG-13 death. The Demon is a paper thin being lacking in personality who offers up a brutally obnoxious wide grin before possessing its victims. Every time someone loses self control, the grin rears its head and it’s never not funny.
I think somewhere director Jeff Wadlow thought this would be terrifying, or at least unnerving, but it’s just laugh out loud stupid. Characters have zero chemistry with one another, foreshadowing is clunky, the exposition stinks, there isn’t a single likable character, and the whole intention of the demon (???) is never clarified one hundred percent for the audience. There’s something about nuns, but I was in a sleepy haze. I’m all for ambiguity, but the monster here is quite obviously under developed and half assed in hopes of distracting audiences with flat shocks and dodgy CGI. Seriously here’s this omnipotent demon and the best it has to scare its victims with is a catty “Who do you love more?”
I wonder– is there a “Stop hitting yourself” demon out there? If there’s anything worse than a bad movie, it’s a boring bad movie, and “Truth or Dare?” was a snooze fest from minute one. It’s one of the true clunkers of 2018, and is probably the worst horror movie of the year, so far.