Production company Blumhouse’s latest venture into a narrative based on anxiety-inducing situations surrounding millennials is definitely geared towards that exact demographic. If the urban dictionary-related dialogue or opening credits, which are filled to the brim with hashtags and our lead characters capturing every moment they can on film didn’t give you enough of a hint, then the scenarios director Jeff Wadlow (KICK-ASS 2, NEVER BACK DOWN) puts these characters through will surely confirm your suspicions. The main argument, however, is that is this really a bad thing? Well, in this case, it just might be.
Right from the very first frame, the decision-making process of these characters robs them of all character, especially when they completely go out of their established personality for the sole purpose of progressing the plot far enough forward to stretch its gum-like consistency into a feature length. This shlock-fest could have easily been around ten to fifteen minutes long if Olivia (Lucy Hale) was in possession of a brain cell or two when the strange man at the end of the bar invited her to an abandoned castle.
It’s not all bad though, there’s a flickering light beam of ambition and curiosity to explore the consequences and possible exploitation of habits many pick up during their teenage years. It feels especially rewarding when our characters are occasionally forced to face these demons throughout the film, but these small moments of tension feel like nothing more than a slight heart rate jump due to how uninvolved the rest of the narrative is.
When our characters aren’t engaging in a cursed game of life-and-death, we are left with a handful of people that don’t do anything more than casually transmitting “copy-and-paste” dialogue back and forth about how terrified the situation makes them. Nothing is incredibly insightful but during the rare moments the pacing breaks to throw in something almost entirely out of left field and TRUTH OR DARE becomes relatively interesting. After a while, though, the once seemingly ambitious ideas gets incredibly lacklustre after a while.
Everyone is putting in their all to make a movie that they want people to enjoy and that speaks very true to the energy of the actors on screen here. Although the script may lack the emotional punch it promises to pack, it does possess a cast of very young, attractive men and women that are shaken by the curse that breaks their safety blanket on life, which is always a very interesting concept on its own. However, the team behind the flick don’t know quite what to say with the narrative idea that Blumhouse has already gifted to the first UNFRIENDED film which handled progression of character much better.
In the long run, aside from some great passion and energetic performances, there is too much reality-breaking and ironic comedy going on here for me to take this film seriously in its message of nothing relevant to the current status of the rush for internet stardom or peer pressure. I feel like tackling the blatant issues these characters have more than once would have to lead to a more emotional connection and it would have created more tension. It could have been so much worse than it actually was, and what was it exactly?
TRUTH OR DARE is now in theatres.