Thirteen years after Jeff Wadlow made his promising but flawed debut in Cry Wolf (2005), he finally returns to the horror genre after spending his last few years exploring action-movie territory in Never Back Down (2008) and Kick-Ass 2 (2013).
In Truth or Dare, Wadlow’s latest horror movie follows a group of high-school teenagers (among them are Lucy Hale, Tyler Posey and Violett Beane), who find themselves being stalked by a demonic entity after playing a game of Truth or Dare with a mysterious stranger (Landon Liboiron) in Mexico.
Just like Cry Wolf where he put a teenage horror spin on the classic fable of The Boy Who Cried Wolf, Wadlow uses the popular children’s party game Truth or Dare and turned it into a Final Destination-style supernatural horror movie. Except, of course, it was scaled down to a kid-friendly PG-13. Sure, Cry Wolf was also a PG-13 horror movie. But at least, that movie made quite an impression of reinventing the aforementioned classic fable. This movie? I just couldn’t believe how bad it actually turns to be.
Now, just how bad in Truth or Dare? Let’s see, the horror elements are neither scary nor suspenseful. Wadlow relies heavily on cheap jump scares to evoke an audience’s reaction. Even the numerous bizarre death scenes are just as bland and disappointing. Then, there’s the idea of showcasing possessed bodies of someone with a weird face reminiscent of a “messed-up Snapchat filter” as one of the main characters literally said in the movie. Frankly, I find them more laughable than feeling creepy looking at their faces.
The story is equally a letdown. All the teen characters are strictly one-dimensional. Not even Lucy Hale, best known in TV’s Pretty Little Liars, able to do much in her would-be sympathetic role as the lead protagonist. Truth to be told (no pun intended), the horror concept of Truth or Dare game can be potentially interesting if done right. But it’s hard to believe that none of the four screenwriters (yes, four!) — Michael Reisz, Jillian Jacobs, Chris Roach and Jeff Wadlow — able to come up something that’s either engrossing or entertaining enough to elevate this movie beyond its feeble level.
If there’s any consolation about this movie, the ending kind of caught me off guard. I didn’t expect this movie to end in a pessimistic manner. It’s the only time in Truth or Dare where Wadlow does it right in the otherwise uninvolving 100-minute stretch. Given the Blumhouse’s recent strings of acclaimed successes such as last year’s Get Out and Happy Death Day, it’s a pity to see Truth or Dare stumbles badly as one of the worst horror movies ever seen in 2018.