Truth or Dare (2012)
(15) Running time: 92 minutes
Director: Robert Heath
Writer: Matthew McGuchan
Starring: Liam Boyle, Jack Gordon, Florence Hall, Jennie Jacques, Tom Kane, David Oakes
Reviewed by: Matt Wavish, official HCF critic
First off, British horror Truth or Dare is not original, and it certainly does not break any new ground in terms of moving the horror and even torture porn genre forward. However, what Truth or Dare is though, is a highly enjoyable tale of revenge that flows along at a wonderful pace, rarely gets boring and actually offers up some pretty intense and nasty scenes. It is a horror that plays by all the clichéd rules, never breaks them and is happy to do its job without any fuss. It will satisfy, reward and even excite the viewer, and is the perfect Friday night horror flick to watch with some booze and pizza.
The set up here is incredibly simple, and uses a story device which has been done to death. At a very messy house party, a group of five friends are involved with humiliating the quiet and shy Felix (Kane), and the results of his humiliation are devastating, causing his older brother Justin (a delightfully creepy David Oakes) to exact his own means for revenge. Months later the five friends are invited to another party, and the thought of free booze is too much for them to ignore, so off they go to a remote cabin in the woods with no idea of the horrors that await them. All becomes clear once they arrive and end up bound to chairs while Justin exacts his revenge, wanting to find out exactly who it was that pushed his younger brother over the edge. This is achieved by playing the game which caused his younger brothers trauma, truth or dare.
Justin, in all fairness, is a great ‘villain’: he is in the military, and takes no crap from anyone, and Oakes plays the role really well, and while in the beginning you do fear him, as the film progresses you just might find yourself taking his side. The five friends are a stuck up bunch who have more money than sense, and I am sure many of us have come across these types of spoilt rich kids in our time. The cast play their roles well, particularly Jennie Jacques who plays the slutty Eleanor who is willing to use her good looks to get whatever she wants. The rest all play the scared kids well and the acting is highly believable, even if the script is a bit dodgy at times. There are moments are classic British humour and ‘teen talk’, while at other times the script can be embarrassingly bad. Thankfully the good stuff out-weighs the bad, and the film moves along nicely. You never quite know what direction the film will take next, and some rather grisly torture scenes begin the process of the friends turning on each other and revealing their true colours.
Far from perfect, Truth or Dare is a strangely likeable and at times nerve shredding ride into the depths of one man’s search for the truth. Yes his way of going about it seems a tad ridiculous, but if he chose any other way we would not have a film now would we! This is a horror for those wanting something easy that won’t require a lot of effort from yourself, and even with some twists later on in the film, nothing here is really unexpected, so this is an easy to watch revenge flick that pretty much ticks all the boxes. Good performances, some great use of music, the best setting possible and some neat but not shocking violence all add up to a safe horror bet that will please hardcore and casual horror fans alike.