Truth or Dare is the latest entry from the folks at horror outlet Blumhouse Productions, an outfit whose creative output runs the gamut from great (Get Out) to mediocre and all the way down the chart to just plain awful (Ouija). Truth or Dare isn’t likely to be confused with the most rewarding endeavors from the production house. In fact, it comes uncomfortably close to landing at the bottom of the heap compared to the more enjoyable entries unleashed by Blumhouse. It’s an indistinguishable endeavor that seems like it’s running on auto pilot for most of its running time. It’s pretty obvious that more thought was spent on the novelty of releasing this film on an actual calendar date of Friday the 13th than any plot points contained therein.

Several college kids head south of the border for a weekend of, well, whatever it is that poorly written characters do in these sorts of movies. In the case of the scenario found here, one of the girls in the group strikes up a conversation with a hunky young dude who invites her and the rest of the gang to spend the night in an abandoned castle. Once they arrive they quickly discover they were lured there by their new ‘friend’ in an effort to rid himself of a curse that’s been haunting him. The only way to free himself is to get his new acquaintances to participate in a real life version of the game of the film’s title. Trouble is that the penalty that comes with someone not accepting your dare is a quick and certain death. Yep, the stakes are just a wee bit higher here.

Some of the truths and dares that the kids are forced to participate in are a bit inventive but the payoffs are hardly ever as good as the setup. One example would be a sequence where one of the kids, who is secretly gay, must confess his secret to his homophobic father. Instead of this leading to an interesting exchange between father and son, the father readily accepts the son’s confession and the son lives to see another day. One can only contemplate the missed opportunities and there are many of them littered about the film.

One other thing that must be noted is how the PG-13 rating of the film really blunts the overall impact of things. This is a film that most certainly would have benefited from a little more explicitness in terms of its depiction of the horror the film’s characters must endure. Then again, I guess this isn’t the kind of thing that’s meant to be scrutinized that closely. It’s an assembly line product made for audiences who have yet to experience a truly great horror film. It’s hard to compare when you have no yardstick by which to measure such things. My advice is to skip this and revisit Texas Chainsaw Massacre instead.

This movie is playing all around this area.

Image: Scene from Truth or Dare

Questions or comments? Write Adam at [email protected].