Truth or Dare is one of those instances when the trailer is better than the film. The trailer has a few nice scares and promises a passably diverting horror film about a group of college friends who get caught in a demonic game. The studio behind the film – Blumhouse Productions – has raised the bar for the genre. These are the folks who gave us the Oscar-nominated Get Out.  So I was looking forward to being scared.  No such luck.

Truth or Dare is a tedious collection of clichés.  It begins with that great American tradition – spring break!  The friends play truth or dare in a spooky looking monastery in Mexico and the game takes over their lives.  The rules are: Tell the truth or you die. Do the dare or your die. Refuse to play? You die.  The truths and the dares are custom designed to each player – so one boy is forced to tell the truth and come out of the closet while another girl is dared to sleep with her best friend’s boyfriend. These directions are delivered by regular people except their faces have twisted into these Satanic smiles – which someone describes as a ‘messed-up snapchat filter.’ This signature look is more silly than scary.

Truth or Dare is hobbled by a painfully pedestrian narrative, which is credited to, believe it or not, four writers

Director Jeff Wadlow tires to marry the digital generation with demons and it could have been a winning combination. But Truth or Dare is hobbled by a painfully pedestrian narrative, which is credited to, believe it or not, four writers. The characters are singularly forgettable and the dialogue could have been penned by a five-year-old.  Every second line is a variation of – Oh my God! Are you ok? This is so messed up!  We have to go now!

The acting isn’t much better than the writing.  Lucy Hale plays Olivia, the do-gooder of the group who sets the bloody events into motion.  She’s the quintessential wide-eyed beauty but it’s hard to stay interested.

What could have been twisted and juicy is just a crashing bore. I’m going with one star.

Rating:   star

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