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Truth or Dare (2018)

Universal Studios Home Entertainment
Blu-ray Disc Released: 7/17/2018

All Ratings out of

Review by Mike Long, Posted on 7/19/2018

In my recent review for A Quiet Place, I wrote about how I'm a lifelong horror movie fan and how I've always advocated for the acceptance of scary movies. And while I've been known to embrace some sub-par entries over the years, I typically advocate for clever, unique horror movies. Why? Because it seems that it's the copycats and also-rans which permeate the mainstream and it's these movies which come to mind when the average person thinks about a fright flick. Having taken this stance, I don't know what to do about Truth or Dare.

College student Olivia (Lucy Hale) had planned to spend her spring break assisting Habitat for Humanity, but her best friend, Markie (Violett Beane), peer pressures her into going to Mexico instead. Accompanied by their friends, Lucas (Tyler Posey), Brad (Hayden Szeto), Penelope (Sophia Ali), and Tyson (Nolan Gerard Funk), they head south of the border and party hard. On their last night, Olivia meets Carter (Landon Liboiron), who convinces the group, joined by party-crasher Ronnie (Sam Lerner), to venture to an old mission. Once there, he suggests playing "truth or dare" and the group agrees, although the truths quickly get very personal. Carter then suddenly tells Olivia that the game is real and that he lured them there to save himself from a curse. Assuming that this was simply drunken rambling, the group returns to school, but they all begin to experience odd incidences in which they hear a voice saying "truth or date" and where they are confronted by people with creepy faces. Olivia realizes that the game is deadly and that a wrong answer can lead to disaster.

There has been much ridicule and scorn in the past for movies based on board games and video games. Projects like Battleship and Super Mario Bros. raised questions about the death of creativity in Hollywood and how anyone could make a movie based on something which didn't have a story. Things have clearly taken a huge leap backwards, as we now have Truth or Dare, a movie based on a party game played by bored teenagers. Why make a film based on such a flimsy concept? We learn in the extra features included on this Blu-ray Disc that Universal told reps from Blumhouse that if they could make a movie entitled "Truth or Dare", Universal could market it. So, there you go. A vague suggestion led to a movie being made.

And with that, four, yes four, screenwriters were utilized to write this film. And between them, they still didn't come up with much of a story. Borrowing heavily from Final Destination and It Follows, we are presented with a movie which falls apart in the second scene, and doesn't get any better from there. In what is supposed to be a horror movie, the most unnerving moment comes just minutes into the film when the reportedly altruistic Olivia is coerced into going to Mexico instead of helping with Habitat for Humanity, by friends who went ahead and told the HFH folks that she wasn't coming. Hence, the one character here who has a chance of being likable is revealed to be spineless. From there, we are forced to watch the group not only follow a complete stranger to an abandoned building in the middle of nowhere, but then be convinced to play "Truth or Dare". Pretty tough to swallow. Following this, the movie becomes one scene after another where the characters are confronted by people who have contorted, Joker-like smiles who implore them to play the game...a game whose rules are constantly changing.

So, if you think that Truth or Dare sounds pretty silly, it is. But, if you think that it sounds like a silly good time, then you would be mistaken. For a movie with such a wafer-thin premise, this one is pretty dark, especially in the second half. The problem here is that the movie wants to get deep and serious, mostly with the true confessions which the characters are forced to make, but these moments come off as quite hollow, given the juvenile background against which they are playing. Spoiler alert, most of the people in the movie don't make it, and in a film which has a decidedly supernatural slant, I was very surprised that two die by gunfire. Director Jeff Wadlow has made some other movies, but there's nothing that he can do with the lame story here, and Truth or Dare emerges as one of the worst studios movies which I've seen in quite some time. Now, I will simply sit and wait for "Duck Duck Goose -- The Movie". (Tagline: "Run in circles all that you want. Your goose is cooked!")

Truth or Dare did feature my first car in the opening scene, so I guess that was pretty cool, on Blu-ray Disc courtesy of Universal Studios Home Entertainment. The film has been letterboxed at 2.35:1 and the Disc contains an AVC 1080p HD transfer which runs at an average of 36 Mbps. The image is very sharp and clear, showing no overt grain and no defects from the source materials. The colors look very good and the image is never overly dark or bright. The image shows off a nice amount of depth and the level of detail is notable. The Disc carries a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 4.0 Mbps. The track provides clear dialogue and sound effects. Something which immediately jumped out to me about this track was the lack of surround sound. Maybe I had a defective disc, but there were multiple scenes where we should have been hearing something from the rear, but very little was happening. This did make the subwoofer and stereo effects, which are good, seem much more prominent, but it was certainly weird to have this kind of presentation from a modern movie.

The Truth or Dare Blu-ray Disc contains just a few extra features. We begin with an AUDIO COMMENTARY from Co-Writer/Director Jeff Wadlow and Lucy Hale. "Game On: The Making of Truth or Dare" (7 minutes) reveals that there was no initial idea other than the fact that Universal wanted a movie called "Truth or Dare". Through interviews with the cast and creative team, we get an overview of the story and themes, and how it's all supposedly relatable. "Directing the Deaths" (4 minutes) has Director Jeff Wadlow talking about how each character's death was designed based on their personalities and actions.

Review Copyright 2018 by Mike Long