It’s October and that means I’ve been mainlining horror movies since September 27 in anticipation of Halloween. My goal is to watch one horror movie per day in October but I’m counting the flicks from last month in my count because I do what I want. Also, it is definitely tough to find quality horror movies, leading me to screen the same ones every year while also enduring mediocre to downright heinous movies just to get my scare on.
One of the heinous ones (that I watched twice) is 2018’s Truth or Dare, not to be confused with the 2017 movie of the same name available on Netflix. College seniors Olivia (Lucy Hale), Markie (Violett Beane), Lucas (Tyler Posey), Brad (Hayden Szeto), Tyson (Nolan Gerard Funk), and Penelope (Sophia Taylor Ali) head to Mexico for their last spring break together. While couples Lucas and Markie and Tyson and Penelope couple up — and Brad hooks up with a dude on the dance floor — Olivia meets Carter (Landon Liboiron) at the bar. Carter convinces the group to go with him to an abandoned mission where he engages them in a game of truth or dare before telling them they’re now trapped in the game.
While watching this awful movie, I had some questions. Serious questions that may or may not have been answered one of the many times I zoned out, but I require answers nonetheless.
1. Why are any of these people friends at all? Most of them live in one huge house together but are absolute assholes to each other in ways that are much more than familiarity or teasing. None of them believe Olivia and are hateful to her instead of trying to help her calm down or figure out what’s wrong. Then when they do believe they’re stuck in the game with a demon they all blame Olivia for meeting Carter.
2. How can Markie be angry at Olivia for being nearly sexually assaulted by her late father? And why does the Wikipedia page summarize that portion of the flick as Olivia admitting partial responsibility for the suicide of Markie’s father? All she did was angrily tell him Markie would be better off with him dead since he was a drunk that lost his job and tried to rape her and somehow that makes her culpable for some part of his death? Um, no.
3. Why are the police mostly unconcerned and not keeping tabs on anyone now that somewhere around seven people are dead? They have proof of something odd going on, especially when Giselle (Aurora Perrineau) from the original group of players is caught on security camera saying, “Dare” and then lighting a woman on fire. Why not detain them on… I don’t know. SOMETHING.
4. Why does the time between refusing to play and death vary so much between players? Ronnie (Sam Lerner) invited himself along to the Mission and gets caught in the game too. He accepts a dare, changes his mind, and dies in seconds. In the end, Lucas is given a dare that he refuses to do, yet he has time to tell Olivia and Markie what the dare is, tell the latter that he loves her, and then is used to kill someone NOT INCLUDED IN THE DARE before he offs himself.
5. If Carter was keeping himself safe by staying indoors, why didn’t Calux dare him to go outside? Or punch himself in the throat? Or any number of things to get him dead? Dare him to eat Tide Pods, man. Use your head!
6. Why didn’t these idiots sit down and think of ways to outsmart Calux? It isn’t until the end when Markie is dared to shoot Olivia, only grazing her arm, that the movie shows that players can get by on technicalities and sticking to the wording of the dare. When Brad is dared to steal his police officer father’s gun and make him beg for his life, he could have stolen the weapon, tossed it down the street, and then asked his dad to beg for his life to complete the dare. Instead, he pointed the gun at his dad and was shot by another officer.
7. The ability of Calux to use the body of a player to kill a player when it isn’t their turn and wasn’t part of the dare is downright bullsh*t. Why is the demon able to possess Lucas and make him stab Carter to death when the original dare was to kill either Markie or Olivia? That’s cheating.
8. How is Calux suddenly a part of the game and required to answer Olivia’s truth question?
9. How is the ending a solution to Olivia and Markie playing the game? It makes no sense because just asking someone “truth or dare” doesn’t mean they’ll play the game. Is this like Rings where Calux was just looking for an opportunity to infect the interwebs, changing the rules once again?
10. Why did I watch this twice?
Image sources (in order of posting): Blumhouse Productions, Universal Pictures