Truth or Dare

"Once you’re asked, you’re in. You must tell the truth, or you die. You must do the dare, or you die. If you stop playing the game, then you die.” After her best friend Markie (Violett Beane) cancels her Habitat for Humanity trip behind her back, Olivia (Lucy Hale) relents and joins her close college friends for their last spring break in Mexico. On their last night, Olivia has the misfortune to run into obnoxious classmate Ronnie (Sam Lerner), but Carter (Landon Liboiron), a handsome stranger at the bar, saves her. He invites her and her friends to a secret place, an abandoned old mission. Once there, he proposes they play a classic game which sounds like a good idea until they realize they're following rules set by an ancient demon named Callux which have deadly consequences for anyone cheating in "Truth or Dare."

Laura's Review: D+

Blumhouse Productions has given the horror genre a jolt in the arm with such films as "Paranormal Activity," "Split" and "Get Out," but they've also delivered duds like "Unfriended" and "The Gallows." This is one of the latter, a PG-13 dud whose early promise quickly devolves into unscary situations and a strained origin mythology. Borrowing from the "Final Destination" playbook, the kids soon figure out that the game that uncovered an uncomfortable truth or two (as well as Markie's boyfriend Lucas (Tyler Posey) in a streaking dare) will continue with more sinister consequences in the same order in which they originally played. Olivia, who had heard but not believed this truth from Carter, is the first to start being challenged with spectral taunts of 'truth or dare?' Ronnie denies keying the phrase on Olivia's car, but she's the only one who sees it. When she walks into the library, students leering like "The Man Who Laughs" surround her and Olivia blurts out her demanded truth, that Markie's always cheating on her boyfriend Lucas. When Ronnie chickens out of a dare and ends up dead, everyone reconsiders Olivia's wild claims. Everyone is challenged on their personal issues. Medical school hopeful Tyson's (Nolan Gerard Funk) been dealing in illegal prescriptions, Penelope (Sophia Taylor Ali) has a drinking problem and Brad (Hayden Szeto) dreads coming out to his policeman dad (Tom Choi). But the focus on the film is the Olivia-Markie-Tyler love triangle and the secret Olivia's been keeping from Markie. The film offers more soap than scares and there's little reason to care about any of these people, Brad being the possible exception. "Kick-Ass 2" director Jeff Wadlow constructs a horrifying pre-credit sequence, but he plods through the rest of screenwriters Jillian Jacobs and Michael Reisz's painfully plotted work. The return of that opening player, Giselle (Aurora Perrineau), is ridiculously contrived. In the end, the filmmakers even sell out the ethics of their central character to set up a sequel to a film that is best described as boring. Grade:

Robin's Review: DNS