Truth or Dare (2012)

It begins like any 80′s slasher flick would; a bunch of loathsome students drink, snort cocaine and talk about sex. Except – to up the hateful – they’re a bunch of plummy-voiced, affluent snobs.

When timid Felix (Tom Kane) is humiliated and face-punched by arrogant nob-basket Chris (Jack Gordon) during a bout of Truth or Dare, the game is truly over.

But is it?

Six months later and the five Truth or Dare ringleaders naturally accept an invitation to Felix’s birthday party in the middle of the countryside, only to find Felix missing and his brother Justin there instead.

Why his brother? Because Felix is dead (!), having hanged himself, and brother dearest wants to know one thing: who sent Felix a postcard with the words “Truth or Dare, bitch” written on it, which apparently tipped him into suicide-land.

So Justin kidnaps them all and forces them to play his own demented game of Truth or Dare, which involves guns, fists and a vat of battery acid.

Unfortunately this is where the film sags. 25 minutes in and we’re left with 6 people in a cabin playing a very repetitive game. It is violent and brutal but also very tiresome, even with the introduction of other characters and one decent escape attempt.

The major problem is that the characters are all utterly loathsome and you simply don’t care for any of them. Luckily Jennie Jacques, Jack Gordon and David Oakes all do exceptionally well with the shoddy material they’re given. Jason Maza is also criminally underused as drug dealer Jonesy, who exists only as a superfluous death-fodder moron.

There are glaring question marks that hang over the film, like how did Felix’s brother contact all these people? Why didn’t the brother simply do a ‘handwriting match’ on the postcard, rather than instigate this elaborate and maddening setup? Why kill off the best character first?! Matthew McGuchan’s dialogue is also heavy-handed and unrealistic, with choice, subtle lines like “I’m so horny” and “You’re pissing on my patch”. This is his feature debut and it’s seriously lacking in depth.

Director Robert Heath didn’t have a huge amount to work with and although his direction is sharp, taut and smoothly done, it doesn’t stop the movie being cloyingly dull in places.

This is another taut, cheap-looking British horror film which goes for intense and lands in melodrama. The ending – despite having a decent twist – is overlong and loses pace entirely in order to reveal something you don’t really care about. At all. It’s an incredibly frustrating end to an incredibly frustrating film.

Rating: ★★★★☆☆☆☆☆☆

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