Truth or Dare Movie Review
Written by Joel Harley
Directed by Jessica Cameron
Written by Jessica Cameron and Jonathan Scott Higgins
2013, 89 minutes, Not Rated
Jessica Cameron as Jennifer Collins
Ryan Kiser as Derik B. Smith
Heather Dorff as Michelle Lucas
Devanny Pinn as Courtney Austin
Filming their deadly truth or dare based stunts and posting them online, a band of pranksters calling themselves the Truth or Dare-Devils find fame after one of their games goes viral. Setting up to create their next big hit, the six kids' party is pooped when a crazed fan rolls up wanting to play. Unfortunately, demented Derik is to Truth or Dare as Dirty Sanchez is to Jackass... on a whole other level. A completely unnecessary level populated entirely by buffoons who don't know when enough is enough, that is.
Being a fan of horror and user of social media over the past year, it's become almost impossible to have not noticed Truth or Dare. Written and directed by scream queen Jessica Cameron, this low-budget slice of torture-themed horror promised to take the world of indie cinema by storm. After a year of hype and self-promotion on the filmmakers' part, I was eager to finally see it. Could it ever live up to the weight of expectation? Dare I say it? To tell the truth, no, it doesn't.
It starts out loud and over-edited, and, although it settles down, that sense of artifice remains. Although they give it their all, none of the actors are quite good enough to sell their characters, while Ryan Kiser's villain is an annoying, hyperactive fool lacking subtlety, dimension or grace. Thankfully, the action of the main event is just gruesome and interesting enough to save the rest of the film. As the Truth or Dare-Devils sit, forced to visit various grisly atrocities upon one another, we can forgive the amateurish acting and slightly predictable twists. 2012's Would You Rather did it better (it did have Jeffrey Combs in it) but it's still better than the British Truth or Dare or the even worse Truth-or-Dare-on-a-plane Panic Button. Stories of outrage, fainting and vomiting surround its final-quarter action (sick bags were even handed out as part of its promotion) but there's little here that hardened horror fans won't have seen before. It's not as offensive, edgy or brutal as it thinks it is (and would anyone ever choose “dare” moments after watching a friend chew broken glass?) but one can't help but admire the movie for its gallons of fake blood and very practical effects.
Premièring in the UK at Frightfest, it should play a lot better to a large festival audience than it did to me, sitting on my tod trying to figure out what the big deal was. It may not have been to my taste, but there will be plenty who'll get a kick from its brand of cheap thrills, sleazy shocks and genuine nastiness. There's no denying that the smart, savvy Cameron has a passion and talent for the genre, and regardless of whether I enjoyed her film or not (I didn't, in case you hadn't guessed) she's certainly marked herself as one to watch in future... if you dare.
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