Tech horror marries the banal and bloodcurdling
Upon first glance, Blumhouse Productions’ “Truth or Dare” seems little more than the typical millennial horror flick, packed with bad decisions, awkward sex and a blatant overuse of technology – but there’s more than meets the eye.
Despite its corniness as a run-of-the-mill 21st-century horror thriller, “Truth or Dare” gets to the very meat of what it means to be paralyzed by a fear of the great unknown – a fear of the demonic, the dark and the evil.
After a calm beginning, the recognition of impending doom looms over each character as they maneuver the treacherous plot line, and the smile of the devil chills the audience.
Starring familiar faces such as Lucy Hale, Tyler Posey, Violett Beane, Hayden Szeto and Landon Liboiron, the film plays toward its millennial audience very well by incorporating elements of technology into its plot line. Olivia (Hale) damning countless viewers across the globe through her YouTube channel is reminiscent of storylines of other recent horror movies, such as “Unfriended,” “The Den” and “Friend Request.”
The film’s main group of friends has just returned from the adventure of a lifetime in Mexico and is spread too thin as a mischievous demon sets the game of truth or dare in motion, fiddling with the characters’ lives.
If a player does their dare or tells their truth, their life is spared. If they fail, the demon takes over with a smile that stretches from ear to ear, killing the player in cold blood as witnesses can do nothing but sit and watch.
As the characters’ lives unravel along with the narrative, viewers are either left with head in hands to escape the bloody scene on the screen or laughing at the absurdity of the deaths.
From a pen to the eye to a neck broken on a billiard table, the demon knows how to play his audience one way or the other, for horror or humor.
But the film is not without its faults. With a dull concept from its inception, “Truth or Dare” is faced with the difficult task over of overcoming an audience’s need for instant gratification – it wants the action, and it wants it now.
Perhaps the most chilling aspect of the film is the never-ending element of the game itself. The main characters find themselves spiraling down into a constant onslaught of destruction brought upon their worlds.
Friendships are put to the test. The bond of love is stretched. Relationships crumble, the darkness threatens to take over the world and the fragile line between good and evil is blurred even more.
The final scene, a shocking conclusion to an otherwise unremarkable film, leaves the audience reeling. But as moviegoers leave the theater as the screen fades to black, one question lingers on their minds – could it really happen?