Truth or Dare

Truth or Dare, from director Nick Simon–and definitely not to be confused with the 2018 movie of the exact same name and concept–features a group of college kids visiting a spooky old house for a bit of morbid Halloween fun. But as the night continues, they soon find their innocent party games turned into a game of torture, brutality, and life and death by a malicious spirit.

This movie has balls. It’s not very good. But it’s definitely a fun watch based on the balls it shows throughout.

Plain and simple? Truth or Dare doesn’t fuck around. It opens with the final participants in the final moments of the previous game, which was some 30 years ago. Then it quickly moves on to the present day, just as quickly introduces us to its not-so-colorful, but definitely quirky group of characters who have some great chemistry if not much else, and gives us what little backstory it needs to just so it can get on with the fun. Because after a fairly pleasant opening twenty minutes, the movie just throws everyone from one meat grinder to the next until the credits end.

I love when a movie just embraces who and what it is. Live your best life, movie.

Despite being made for TV and having that general bland look and feel of a modern day low-budget horror film on the surface, Truth or Dare’s heart is rooted deep in the 80s horror boom. So much so, Scream Queen Heather Lagencamp (of Nightmare on Elm Street fame) gets a nice little cameo.

It’s a movie all about screwed up young adults getting put through a twisted hell for our enjoyment. It’s never too serious. It’s melodramatic and poorly acted just enough. And, best of all, it knows to not only keep up its quick pace but also how to crank it up with every scene. Things get tense really quick between the group. Tempers flare. Wounds are opened. And then shit gets physical, and mean, and cruel.

Horror movies should never be nice to their characters. I didn’t come to see people have a good time. I came to see some shit.

Like, Truth or Dare clearly has no money. It’s a single location. There’s a really, really small cast. And low-budget torture and kills. But it just embraces how screwed up the whole thing is.

For example. I don’t really like the Final Destination franchise. The deaths are cool and all. I like how they’re always this Rube Goldberg mess. But it doesn’t make sense. It’s supposed to be the actual embodiment of Death killing everyone. So why is Death such a dick to only these small groups of people who, for some ungodly reason, always manage to have psychic visions that set them on this path to an even more fucked up death? It’s not their fault. Those kids have no clue what’s going on. And then–bam!–roller coaster jumps out of a bush and kills you. Death’s a dick in those movies for no reason. The movie’s mean to the characters and tries to make me feel sorry for them.

Not Truth or Dare, though. This movie gives everyone the bird. And this time it’s just some ghost or demon being a real dick just because it’s bored. Like, I like all the characters. I like the cast. I love their chemistry. But Truth or Dare makes it clear the only reason you’re supposed to like them is so that it hurts that much more to watch what happens to them all. That’s it. To Hell with a story or plot, because this is 80s slasher horror. Except instead of Freddy Krueger, it’s the invisible man. No jokes. No fancy tricks. Just an invisible force forcing people to put their hand on a hot stove until it melts. For the best part of 90s minutes.

There’s no message to be found in this movie. No warning. No lessons. Just a passion to make you squirm in your seat with morbid delight. Which also means Truth or Dare isn’t a very good movie. But it is one hell of a little ride.

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