TRUTH OR DARE Review — Playing a Sinister Game

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TRUTH OR DARE Review by Pam Mandell Freedman

Editor’s Note: Yes, Pam and I are related. She’s my hubby’s cousin. She had the opportunity to meet director Jeff Wadlow at the world premiere of Truth or Dare in his (and her) hometown of Charlottesville, Virginia, which is better access than I had, and she graciously obliged me when I asked her to write this review.

Truth or Dare ReviewFrom its incendiary opening scene, Truth or Dare, the new film from co-writer/executive producer/director Jeff Wadlow, draws the audience into a sinister game that seems to have no winners.

On the last day of a carefree spring break in Mexico, a half-dozen California college students meet a stranger who proposes a round of the old classic, Truth or Dare. But in this version it turns out the rules are different: tell the truth, do the dare – or you die.

The dares range from the sublime to the ridiculous – and the truths wreak emotional havoc on this tight-knit posse. But it’s the soundtrack and the visual effects that mess with the audience’s minds. In classic horror movie fashion, Wadlow keeps viewers on edge.  Every door that opens with a creak, every shadow that lurks, every face that transforms into a “messed up Snapchat filter” version of itself keeps tensions high.  It’s a twisted game that gets messier and messier as it goes on, playing on each character’s personal demons and pushing the boundaries of a love triangle within the group.   

The film gets a little messy too, with a convoluted back story and a far-fetched resolution that (spoiler alert!) falls way short of a happy ending. Let’s just say that even without a border wall between the US and Mexico, this film may give pause to those thinking about heading south for vacation.

As the teenager I viewed the movie with said, this is a teen horror movie. And in the trending climate of high-brow horror and psychological terror (Get Out, A Quiet Place, Unsane), maybe a little old-fashioned teen slasher escapism is just what we need.

The film opens Friday, the 13th (of course) of April.

As a bonus, Mandell Freeman also reports: “Wadlow, a Dartmouth graduate who went to film school at USC, says that it took him a good 10 years in in Los Angeles to  finally feel fully at home in Hollywood.  But, he adds, he’ll always be a Virginia boy at heart.”

TRUTH OR DARE Review by Pam Mandell Freedman

Rated R

1 Hour 40 Minutes

Get times and tickets at Fandango.com.

TRUTH OR DARE Review — Playing a Sinister Game

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Staci Layne Wilson

Staci Layne Wilson

Staci Layne Wilson is an accomplished writer / director / producer / film critic and the author the bestseller So L.A. - A Hollywood Memoir. Find her on StaciLayneWilson.com

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