Movies

Movie review: 'Truth or Dare'

Unscary horror movie falters from a threadbare plot and uninteresting characters

By Rick Romancito
tempo@taosnews.com
Posted 4/22/18

A new horror-thriller from the Blumhouse fright factory shows that sub-par B-movies are still alive and kicking at the multiplex. This one, called "Truth or Dare," (I can just …

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Movies

Movie review: 'Truth or Dare'

Unscary horror movie falters from a threadbare plot and uninteresting characters

Posted

A new horror-thriller from the Blumhouse fright factory shows that sub-par B-movies are still alive and kicking at the multiplex.

This one, called "Truth or Dare," (I can just hear the old SCTV's Joe Flaherty as Count Floyd going "Oooo, scary") opens with that threadbare horror movie trope in which a group of self-centered college party animals (most of whom are played by actors nearing or past 30) take off for Rosarito, Mexico for some spring break debauchery -- stated explicitly in case maybe you were texting in the dark.

Save for one, of course, a "good girl" named Olivia Barron (Lucy Hale), who'd rather do something more generous with her time. But, no, she gets persuaded to go along with the gang as if no one ever asked her, "If your friends wanted to jump off a bridge would you do it too?"

Once in Rosarito, they party with other like-minded American college students and with nary a real Mexican in sight. The group is looking at its last night with the kind of wistfulness a third-rate comic might feel toward never hearing a true knee-slapping, gasping-for-breath guffaw.

So, in hopes of hitting that last high, they get persuaded (again) to go along with some strange dude no one has met -- except good girl Olivia kinda likes him, so it's OK -- to play a game of truth or dare in a rotting old castle with a broken vial of stinky stuff in a corner and only the bottle of tequila they brought with them.

Here's where the game is supposed to get real for the friends: Olivia, her best friend Markie Cameron (Violett Bean), who is struggling with both her father's suicide and remaining faithful to her boyfriend, Lucas Moreno (Tyler Posey); and another friend, Penelope Amari (Sophia Ali), who is with her pre-med boyfriend Tyson Curran (Nolan Gerard Funk), and Brad Chang (Hayden Szeto), their gay friend who is hiding his sexuality from his father. Oh, and there's also a tagalong jerk with no decency filter named Ronnie (Sam Lerner).

If you're a fan of these kinds of movies, you can practically slap a Post-It Note on each of the characters who will succumb to whatever evil will befall them in such a fake-creepy place as this.

That evil is quietly unleashed by the stranger, Carter (Landon Liboiron), who starts the game. In true modern college movie frat tradition, the truths and dares quickly turn uncomfortable, not fun at all and then downright hostile as we learn no one in the group can escape ugly stuff in their pasts. Then, of course, comes the zinger: The game of truth or dare has a life-threatening evil curse associated with it, one that Carter has just bestowed upon them.

So, like "Ringu" mixed with "Final Destination," an unstoppable demonic force begins offing the friends one-by-one as the game inexorably continues even after the gang gets back to the old U.S. of A.

Interestingly, what made the two movies mentioned far superior to this was a solid grounding in the skill it takes to make a good terror fest. This movie's director, Jeff Wadlow, unfortunately gets bogged down in the ridiculous rules set up by the ham-fistedly written script. Even worse, none of the actors in this offer a standout performance worthy of being remembered. Maybe that's a good thing.

"Truth or Dare" is rated PG-13 for violence and disturbing content, alcohol abuse, some sexuality, language and thematic material.

It is showing daily at Mitchell Storyteller 7 Theatres, 110 Old Talpa Cañón Road. For show times, tickets and additional information, call (575) 751-4245 or visit storyteller7.com.

Also showing in Taos

Annihilation

MPAA rating: R for violence, bloody images, language and some sexuality

Movies at the TCA


This well-received new science fiction film from director and co-writer Alex Garland follows a group of military scientists who enter “The Shimmer,” a mysterious, quarantined zone full of mutating landscapes and creatures. It is based on the novel by Jeff VanderMeer.

The area is abandoned and cut off from the rest of civilization. They are the 12th expedition. The other expeditions have been fraught with disappearances, suicides, aggressive cancers and mental trauma. The novel won the 2014 Nebula Award for Best Novel and the 2014 Shirley Jackson Award for best novel.

This film co-stars Jennifer Jason Lee, Oscar Isaac, Gina Rodríguez, and David Gyasi.

This film will be screened at 2 p.m. Sunday (April 22), and at 7 p.m. Monday through Wednesday (April 23-25).

Movies at the TCA film series, Taos Community Auditorium, 145 Paseo del Pueblo Norte. For tickets and additional information, call the Taos Center for the Arts at (575) 758-2052 or visit tcataos.org.

Isle of Dogs

MPAA rating: PG-13 for thematic elements and some violent images

Mitchell Storyteller 7


In this stop-motion-animated film from writer-producer-director Wes Anderson, an outbreak of canine flu in Japan leads all dogs to be quarantined on an island. A boy (voice of Koyu Rankin) journeys there to rescue his dog Spots (Liev Schreiber)  and gets help from a pack of misfit canines who have also been exiled. His quest inspires a group of dog lovers to expose a government conspiracy.

The voice cast also includes Bryan Cranston, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Scarlett Johansson, Tilda Swinton, Bob Balaban, Greta Gerwig and Yoko Ono.

This film will be screened daily.

Mitchell Storyteller 7 Theatres, 110 Old Talpa Cañón Road. For show times, tickets and additional information, call (575) 751-4245 or visit storyteller7.com.

Rampage

MPAA rating: PG-13 for sequences of violence, action and destruction, brief language and crude gestures.

Mitchell Storyteller 7

Primatologist Davis Okoye (Johnson), a man who keeps people at a distance, shares an unshakable bond with George, the extraordinarily intelligent, silverback gorilla who has been in his care since birth. But a rogue genetic experiment gone awry mutates this gentle ape into a raging creature of enormous size.

To make matters worse, it’s soon discovered there are other similarly altered animals. As these newly created alpha predators tear across North America, destroying everything in their path, Okoye teams with a discredited genetic engineer to secure an antidote, fighting his way through an ever-changing battlefield, not only to halt a global catastrophe but to save the fearsome creature that was once his friend.

Directed by Brad Peyton, this action film based on the video game of the same name costars Naomie Harris, Malin Akerman and Jeffrey Dean Morgan.

This film will be screened daily.

Mitchell Storyteller 7 Theatres, 110 Old Talpa Cañón Road. For show times, tickets and additional information, call (575) 751-4245 or visit storyteller7.com.


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