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Neither, thanks: 'Truth or Dare' is horror banality at its worst

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(L to R) Brad (HAYDEN SZETO), Lucas (TYLER POSEY), Olivia (LUCY HALL) and Penelope (SOPHIA TAYLOR ALI) in "Blumhouse’s Truth or Dare," a supernatural thriller from Blumhouse Productions. A harmless game of “Truth or Dare” among friends turns deadly when someone—or something—begins to punish those who tell a lie—or refuse the dare. (Photo: Universal Pictures)

Truth or Dare
1 out of 5 Stars
Director
: Jeff Wadlow
Writers: Jillian Jacobs, Michael Reisz, Christopher Roach, Jeff Wadlow
Starring: Lucy Hale, Tyler Posey, Violett Beane
Genre: Horror, Thriller
Rated: PG-13 for violence and disturbing content, alcohol abuse, some sexuality, language and thematic material

Synopsis: A group of college friends visit Mexico during their spring break. While there, the group participates in a game of truth or dare with sinister consequences.

Review: I like horror movies and over the past few years Blumhouse Productions has produced numerous films that I’m very fond of including “Get Out,” “The Gift,” “Insidious,” “Slight” and “Happy Death Day.” They’ve also produced a lot of garbage.

“Truth or Dare” is utter garbage.

Somehow, I had managed to avoid the trailers (which I prefer, but rarely get to do) and had no real sense of what I was walking into beyond the Blumhouse brand. I wasn’t expecting a masterpiece by any stretch of imagination, but having sat through the disappointing “Rampage,” I hoped that “Truth or Dare” would at least be a pleasant distraction. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case as the narrative lifts ideas from “The Ring,” “Final Destination” and every teenage horror film made in the 1990s (which were actually liberally borrowing tropes that were established decades before) and fails to do anything interesting with them.

Horror is often derivative, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be smart or be infused with original ideas. We only have to go back to last week’s “A Quiet Place” or a few weeks to “Annihilation” to see non-traditional horror films that are immersive because they are built around strong characters and bold ideas. “Truth or Dare” is ineffective because it doesn’t invest as much thought into its characters or its core narrative. It feels like a film that had a final scene and was written backwards.

Seeing as I don’t watch a lot of television, the amiable cast is mostly unknown to me. They really aren’t give much to work with, so I won’t hold them too responsible for the film’s many missteps. I’m putting the blame at the feet of writers and director.

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