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Review: Truth or Dare – “The deaths and dares are brutal”

Directed by Jeff Wadlow (Kick-Ass 2), Truth or Dare stars Lucy Hale (Pretty Little Liars), Tyler Posey (Teen Wolf), and Violett Beane (The Flash).

A group of students go on Spring Break to Mexico, but when a hot and mysterious stranger invites them to drunkenly play truth or dare in a creepy nunnery, the happy supportive friends return to school with more than a hangover.

The demon who possessed their game does not want to stop playing with Olivia (Hale), Lucas (Posey), Markie (Beane) and their demon fodder friends, and now if they do not indulge him by choosing truth or dare and following through – they will die in a somewhat ironic gruesome manner utilising their immediate surroundings.

Olivia is the group’s moral compass, and her unrequited feelings for sensitive Lucas – who is going out with party girl Markie – form a love triangle that is surprisingly endearing and un-annoying. Hale, Posey and Beane have plenty of TV teen drama experience, and the characters flexing feelings and changing relationship dynamics form a strong backbone for all the demons and murder stuff.

Wadlow opens with a messed up grabber of an opening sequence, featuring a previous player of the game stopping for petrol and having to set a random lady on fire, and never really lets up. The cool deaths follow well-handled suspense sequences that will make you wince and watch your step on the way out of the cinema.

Playing a lot like Final Destination x Cheap Thrills the deaths and dares are brutal with friends tearfully having to hurt each other or risk slipping on something falling from something and getting impaled on something. The truths can be equally nasty, and no punches are pulled with the often public heartbreaks and dredging up of painful past events.

Kills may be frustrating for older horror fans though as there is eerily little to no blood, and always a cut away before you see anything go in anyone. The surprises and inventiveness can only go so far in making up the shortfall for non-teenage viewers. The demon possesses those around you to make you choose a truth or a dare and while being surrounded by chanting demon-inhabited strangers looks good, their faces do not. The red eyes and drastically upturned smiles are not at all scary and should not have made it out of being a sketch.

In spite of some design flaws and rating hindrances, there is a lot of fun to be had with Truth or Dare, which I would recommend if you also enjoyed last year’s Wish Upon.

Truth or Dare is released in the UK on the 13th of April.

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