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Blumhouse’s Truth or Dare


Since 2009, Blumhouse Productions have managed to take a series of low-budget horror films and bolster them to either critical or commercial triumphs. While the studio has ubiquitously yo-yoed between cheap jump-scare tactics and semi-decent horror flicks (all of which have by and large made a handsome profit), the last few years have seen them raise the bar, with genre-savvy and even Oscar-nominated 2017 releases. M. Night Shyamalan’s career-rejuvenating Split, the campy thrills of Happy Death Day and the crown jewel in the shape of Jordan Peele’s Get Out all showed that Blumhouse are capable of so much more than middling box-office fodder when they knuckle down and favour quality over box-office returns.

In the spirit of the studio’s latest release, I’ll cut to the chase: The truth is that Truth or Dare isn’t good. As for the second option, I dare you to not to crave the sweet release of death when faced with the film’s groan-worthy script and the overall boredom that will quickly settle in when you realise all Jeff Wadlow’s horror dud provides are sanitised scares and a baffling reticence to inventively commit to its daft but promising premise. The simple concept follows a cookie-cutter group of loathsome American college friend stereotypes who go to Mexico for spring break. There, the titular game they partake in follows them back home, forcing them to play or die. It essentially wants to emulate David Robert Mitchell’s It Follows, except instead of a cursed STD, it’s a haunted drinking game, and what could have been a heroically silly merging of Final Destination’s brutally outlandish deaths and Saw’s sadistic mean streak just ends up as devoid of ambition or scares. Even its creepy leitmotiv in the form of Willem Dafoe-esque rictus grins reeks of naff CGI. Save your pennies and don’t encourage them – considering the damp squib of a sequel-baiting ending, they already have misguided plans to milk a franchise out of this.

Truth or Dare | Directed by Jeff Wadlow (US, 2018), with Lucy Hale, Tyler Posey, Violett Beane. Starts May 10.

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