Another weekend, another horror movie to arise in the dim lights of the theater. This weekend, the big advertised thriller of young age adults versus the paranormal has reared its superficial prettiness in hopes of generating big bucks. While the trailers have painted a very skeptical picture, but you never know what lies beneath the snippets edited in the trailers. Robbie K here with the third review of the weekend, bringing some thoughts and observations on the latest films to hit the silver screen. Let’s get started with this review of:
Film: Truth or Dare
Good Pace: Horror movies are a mixed bag of either being too slow or too fast. Truth or Dare is fortunately one of those that seems to hit just the right speed to allow for everything to pan out as it should be. This reviewer appreciated the brisk pace brought about by the pressure of the game, adding some slight edge and mystery as to when the next challenge would arise in a rather predictable plot. Yet, the movie still took the time to allow their characters to semi-flesh out their issues and dive a little deeper than their superficial looks. A nice balance is always nice to see.
Pretty Cast: Pretty faces go a long way in this business, and Truth or Dare is chock full of attractive puppets set to potentially meet their doom. This Abercrombie and Fitch models will be pleasing to many eyes, which does a lot of heavy lifting in the beginning to accommodate the typical montage. And even throughout the drama, the looks will garnish more attention than the acting itself. Still, the costume and casting get two thumbs up for fashioning a target audience relatable ensemble.
Decent Acting: While the looks are certainly a big picture, the acting is still semi-decent alongside the directing. Most of the cast actually deserves some props for fashioning characters that didn’t make me cringe or wish they would die. Hale in particular was my favorite, using her talents to craft a very versatile character capable of being relatable to. Once more a portrayal of morals vs self-preservation, the lovely young woman more than delivered a stellar performance that evolved as her character adapted.
A Unique Concept: The Truth or Dare game that is deadly might seem cheesy, but it wins points for originality in my book. A simple child’s game (that can get out of control sometimes) as a device of death opened up creative avenues of potential fatality that kept things interesting. While a little over the top at times, (though not as bad as Final Destination), it was cool to see this dynamic stay consistent and the strategy for how to get around the traps set forth.
Character Development: The movie had a good start and a device to drive growth, but sadly that growth was fairly diluted for much of the characters. Most of the cast were still shallow teens with drama that did nothing more than paint massive targets on their backs, falling into the slasher formula that many seem to enjoy. While the game did drive some things to change for the two leads, the movie could have benefitted from a little more branching out.
Story Takes Some Dives: The story actually held some gold nuggets in terms of quality, but that quickly dulled into fool’s gold as the plot elements dipped. The twist behind the games lethal forces, the other players who had the more sinister characteristics, and even the solutions were hinted at times only to be dropped. More suspense and thrills could have been accomplished had they expanded on this category. They started to clean it up at the end with the solution to the problem and the tension that came with it, leading to a rather engaging ending, but the middle of the movie could have used this treatment.
Rushed Deaths: Some of the kills in this movie are intense bouts of our “heroes” racing against the clock to stop the game’s effects. These kills are the more engaging, changing the odds to a more even split on their survival. Others, are merely cheap wrap ups that the teenage group seem to drink up, which is a little disappointing at not delivering on the potential that was there. Perhaps for the shorter attention span of the modern age, but still could have been better than what was presented.
Idiot Syndrome: Where A Quiet Place held realism, fear, and logic, Truth or Dare sadly falls victim to the famous idiot syndrome where the characters brains are absent after the first scene. While this isn’t true for all characters, many of them seem to have their logic components absent during much of the film. Why this annoying trait can’t be teased out a little more makes no sense to me, but the old stick continues to make for an annoying component that takes away from the characters, degrading them to MTV reality status.
Truth or Dare falls victim to the cliché of teenage horror syndrome, in that is a gimmicky display of airheads going up against an unstoppable supernatural force. True, it does have an original medium to terrorize our actors through, pretty cast with decent acting, and a good pace to entertain, it falls shy of being an epic horror. It’s good for the teenage and young adults target audience, but for an audience as a whole this movie is better left for renting than anything else. If only the MTV syndrome could have been avoided, because this quality is what dilutes an otherwise engaging premise.
My scores are:
Movie Overall: 5.0