I always like to make a point of watching as many British horror films as I can get my hands on, in order to see what my own country has to offer. I thought Truth or Dare, though failing to exhibit anything ground breaking, was a solid little horror movie which kept me entertained throughout. Whilst there were many predictable elements, there were also a lot of things which were unexpected which was rather refreshing and certainly kept me on my toes. So there are a few plot holes here and there, but nothing which was so grating as to detract from the viewing experience. Perhaps I’m just going soft in my old age because I didn’t think that it was a bad effort at all – there’s nothing terrible about being average, especially on such a modest budget.
Generally, the plotline was just fine, telling the story of some rich university students who are mean to a fellow student (Felix, who’s a bit of a weedy loser – there’s always one!) at a party, and some months later his brother seeks his revenge on them. There are little inconsistencies throughout which would have been easily sorted if perhaps a closer glance at the script had been taken, but nothing too excruciating. One is kind of left wondering why these posh students decide to go to Felix’s birthday party in the first place (which is pretty much the basis that the entire film rests on) although I suppose it’s not too hard to believe that students will go pretty much anywhere that has free booze. Also, considering Felix’s brother is supposed to have been in the army, you’d have thought that he was a bit more efficient in maintaining control of the situation. And what’s the deal with that Luke character who takes just a moment to join forces with the psychopathic brother? It is small things like this which niggle a little at the brain whilst watching but as I’ve previously remarked, there is nothing majorly wrong here.
I actually liked thought that the idea of using the ‘spin the bottle/ truth or dare’ game as the central premise for the film was a good one, as it lends itself well to a horror-type situation, plus it’s not something I’ve seen done in a movie before (surprisingly!). There were some moments with genuine tension, including some grim scenes involving characters having to do a dare which required them to take a gamble of drinking either water or battery acid – yikes!
The characters were a tad irritating at times, and none of them seemed overly likeable (some even appearing to be hollow and two dimensional). Although, saying this, I was intrigued enough to continue watching so they can’t have done too bad a job – well, don’t misunderstand me, I think the actors did well playing their parts but it was the characters themselves which didn’t really appeal. Perhaps this was Robert Heath (director) trying to make a statement about the ‘rowdy student mentality’ which is common these days, by showing characters which are arrogant and selfish eventually get their ‘comeuppance’. Ultimately, there isn’t really sympathy for the main characters because it is their own fault that they ended up in this ‘horrific’ situation in the first place. The fact that minimal settings were used was not at all a criticism for me, as I feel that it is the sign of a skilled filmmaker who can keep viewers attention without resorting to lots of fancy trickery with elaborate sets or special effects. I love to see raw films from directors who are passionate about they do, regardless of what budget they are constrained by.
Ok, so Truth or Dare is never going to be anybody’s favourite film, probably not even top twenty I’m afraid, but I think that it is a very decent effort. When reviewing a film, one must take into account the resources and means available, and this definitely used what it had, so it really can’t be faulted. It’s just a matter of suspending your disbeliefs a little for the 95 minutes and it becomes a perfectly watchable and enjoyable horror film.