Regardless of what you may think about Donald Trump’s wish to build a wall between the United States and Mexico, Truth or Dare suggests there is one category of potential immigrants which will find such an edifice no obstacle at all: games-loving supernatural entities.
In this latest low-budget, high-concept horror film from Blumhouse Productions (Get Out, Split) a group of friends — including characters played by Lucy Hale (Pretty Little Liars), Tyler Posey (Teen Wolf), and Violette Beane (The Flash) — head south of the border for one last bout of hearty partying before graduation. Toward the end of their vacation, Hale’s Olivia is hit on by the seemingly friendly Carter (Landon Liboiron), who invites the group to a creepy and remote mission where they start playing the titular game. Before you can say, “Who the blue blazes goes to a remote and creepy mission and plays Truth or Dare while on vacation?” the band of friends has returned to America where they find themselves forced to continue participating in this, as it turns out, fatal iteration of the pastime overseen by some sort of demonic creature hellbent on their destruction. Matters swiftly go from bad to worse, as the entity periodically takes over one of their bodies to grinningly insist on a high-stakes truth or body-threatening dare, such as the instruction that Sophia Ali’s boozy Penelope walk around the edge of a high roof until she has finished drinking a bottle of liquor.
Hale and Posey are likable leads and director Jeff Wadlow (Kick-Ass 2) injects proceedings with a propulsiveness which allows you to mostly ignore the odd plot strand which doesn’t really pay off or the general air of preposterousness. In truth, given the bonkers set-up, the film’s deaths could be more daring or imaginative in the manner of the Rube Goldbergian mayhem to be found in the Final Destination movies, the horror franchise which this film most closely resembles. But the result is still an effective enough scare machine. B