• Truth Or Dare (Universal Pictures) Blu-Ray Review

    Released By: Universal
    Released On: July 17, 2018.
    Director: Jeff Wadlow
    Cast: Lucy Hale, Tyler Posey, Violett Beane, Hayden Szeto, Landon Liboiron
    Year: 2018
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    Truth Or Dare - Movie Review:

    I always feel like I should preface these reviews with things like, "But really, I don't hate all teen horrors.", or "in defence of modern horror, it should be noted that there are some standout achievements.". Because it's true; I don't hate all teen horrors. And there are plenty of modern horrors that hit a whole lot of boxes for a whole lot of people. Sometimes, they don't even need to do that; they just need to entertain. I can forgive the hell out of a less-than-top-notch film if it's at least entertaining. You are talking to a guy who saw Scream...and Scream II...and Scream III....in the theatre, and enjoyed at least one half of that entire equation. And so, I didn't expect to dislike TRUTH OR DARE, in spite of the PG-13 rating....

    It's Spring Break, and Olivia (Lucy Hale) is updating her youtube channel to let everyone know of her lofty goals to build homes for Habitat for Humanity in lieu of the usual drunken teenage shenanigans that occur over the break. Sadly, Olivia's need to help the less fortunate is realigned with the needs of her bestie, Markie (Violett Beane), who is dealing with the suicide of her father and her inability to stay faithful to her boyfriend by heading to Mexico to drink tequila and dance the night away. With the guarantee that they'll help her out once the party is over, Olivia succumbs to the wishes of her friends, who also include Markie's boyfriend, Lucas, their pre-med prescription-forging buddy, Tyson, closeted Brad, and some other people who really don't matter, and heads down south of the border to act like the wild and crazy teens they are.

    The group are off to an aye yai yai yaiiiing start at a local bar, when Olivia makes the acquaintance of the quietly handsome Carter, who talks a good game; and when the night is over and the gang is still rarin' to go, Carter provides the opportunity for more fun if they'll follow him to a place outside of town. No problem, say Olivia and Co, and soon they're up at an abandoned place of worship, downing cold beers from a cooler, and entertaining themselves with Carter's suggestion of a game of Truth Or Dare; in which each player must either admit whatever Truth is demanded of them, or engage in an outlandish Dare. Following the usual teenage drama, Carter makes his exit, confessing that he lured them in only so that they would die instead of him, a mysterious statement, indeed.

    Paying little heed, the group head back stateside, with the plan to get back to normal. Not so, say evil forces, and Olivia finds herself in the school library, surrounded by grinning demons, who demand of her, "Truth Or Dare?" "Truth." says Olivia, and blurts out her truth; that Markie has been cheating on her boyfriend. Unfortunately, nobody else in the library has seen these Black Hole Sun grinning weirdos, and attribute her outburst to her jealousy of Markie's relationship with Lucas, a conclusion that Markie also reaches.

    But it doesn't take long before the gang realize that things have taken a much more sinister turn for the worse. One by one, in turn, the unfortunate friends are asked by invisible forces to play the game, with fatal consequences for those who decline. Refusing to accept a truth or dare, or lying instead of truthing results in possession, which results in unfortunate mishap. Thankfully, Facebook is there to provide the answer, and Olivia and Co. are able to research recent occurrences regarding similar circumstances; and a chance meeting with a nun from long ago may provide the solution they need to win the game.

    I will admit, I'm generally a fan of the slice of the horror genre that deals with dreaded forces invisible to everyone else except the key players. And in that genre, I can count myself as a big fan of the original Final Destination film, as well as...well, one of its sequels. There's definitely something about protagonists being trapped in a supernatural situation that is unimaginable to others, rendering help impossible. That being said, it's entirely possible to take things way too far, and Truth Or Dare does just that. The same visual effect throughout the film, that Soundgarden video stretchy grin, with red eyes as the proverbial cherries, gets annoying, fast. Characters that are differentiated only by the most tropish of teen horror behaviours falls into that same category. Demons that can key cars, send text messages, and spraypaint walls; well, you get the picture.

    These people suck. These demons suck. And though there are a few moments of entertainment, TRUTH OR DARE on the whole is just not even fun. Plot reaches that would make a giallo blush, bad performances, crappy effects, and a game structure that changes constantly accentuate how poorly executed this one is. With Kickass 2 and Never Back Down in his portfolio, nobody should be surprised at Jeff Wadlow's inability to deliver a meaningful film; and yet, Truth or Dare manages to somehow be a disappointment.

    Truth Or Dare - Blu-Ray Review:

    Universal brings Truth or Dare to Blu-ray with DVD and HD download options in a pretentious 2.39:1 AVC-encoded transfer that looks as good as most modern films do. Blacks are fine, and there are no issues to speak of here as far as compression or other artefacts go. I checked out the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 English Audio track, which was more than adequate for the material, with liberal but tasteful use of the surrounds and sub, with dialogue sitting front and centre with no distortion or pops to speak of. Spanish and French lossy DTS Surround options are also available, as is English Descriptive Video Service. Subtitles are available in English Subs for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, as well as Spanish and French.

    It's worth noting that the viewer is given the option of watching the theatrical or unrated Director's Cut, which includes approximately 1 minute more of footage.

    Game On: The Making of Truth Or Dare (6:45, HD) features clips from the film as well as cast, Director Wadlow and Jason Blum talking about how the film is relatable? as well how the film got started and the characters contained.

    Directing The Deaths (4:15, HD) is more of the same as the players try to make this film sound way more complex than it is.

    A Feature-length Commentary with Jeff Wadlow and Lucy Hale will be up your alley if you like the film, being that the two carry on at great lengths about it and provide a fair bit of information.

    Truth Or Dare - The Final Word:

    I don't hate teen horror. There are some great examples of modern genre films geared towards a younger audience that are executed quite well. Truth or Dare is not one of those films.

    Click on the images below for full sized Truth Or Dare Blu-ray screen caps!