Tracker Pixel for Entry

​“Truth or Dare” Tries to Scare Up More Blumhouse Magic

by Greg Carlson | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | Cinema | April 18th, 2018

Leveraging whatever name-brand clout it might carry with the target demographic, “Blumhouse’s Truth or Dare” -- the onscreen title for the pre and post-credit sequences -- won’t make the kind of impact previously enjoyed by “Get Out” or, for that matter, the “Purge” series. Even so, the Jeff Wadlow-directed horror feature should draw teen viewers intrigued by the “And Then There Were None”-style trailer. Populated by a cast of young actors with plenty of television experience, the film can’t fully sustain the premise of a deadly, supernatural game of truth or dare, falling short of the superior, smarter “Nerve.”

Olivia (Lucy Hale) ditches her Habitat for Humanity service for a final spring break in Mexico with her group of close friends. Olivia’s bestie Markie (Violett Beane) harbors some serious psychological pain that won’t be explained until late in the film, and she acts out by cheating on her boyfriend Lucas (Tyler Posey). Oh, Olivia also has a serious, barely-concealed crush on Lucas. That inconvenience, and a dark secret she cannot bear to reveal to Markie, will come in handy as plot business when the movie begins to explore the dimensions of the cursed game that dogs the friends like the relentless entity in “It Follows.”

The theme of transference is also borrowed from “It Follows,” when we learn that the contenders cannot opt out of the high-stakes, consequence-heavy realities of the game. Refusing to play is not an option, since death also follows hot on the heels of anyone who violates the spirit of the challenges by either lying or not completing a dare. Why an ancient demon named Calax would bother with a party pastime so closely associated with the adolescent catnip of potential social embarrassment and/or physical intimacy is never satisfactorily explained, and “Truth or Dare” runs out of steam the more it pays attention to solving the mystery of Calax.

As for the revelations and predicaments that emerge from the ongoing turns in the game taken by the ensemble, the movie unsurprisingly leans heavily toward the grim, the gory, and the grotesque in a way that recalls the “Final Destination” films. Broken necks, severed tongues, and ballpoint pens jabbed into eye sockets are joined by a dispiriting number of scenes in which characters hold one another (and sometimes themselves) at gunpoint. But despite the lazy ubiquity of the drawn sidearm, “Truth or Dare” manages at least one exchange, between Hayden Szeto’s Brad Chang and Tom Choi’s Han Chang, that resonates with acute empathy.

The sexuality inherent in the popular conception of truth/dare challenges is not entirely absent from the film. In her “New York Times” review, Jeannette Catsoulis humorously pointed out audience reaction to the one provocation that involves intercourse. Spoiler alert: the viewers in Catsoulis’ screening questioned the “script’s notion of a dare,” even if the story logic argues that the participants feign reluctance and acknowledge that their act will hurt someone they both love. At least ten minutes too long, “Truth or Dare” never matches the charms of the recent “Happy Death Day,” a much more enjoyable high-concept title in the Blumhouse arsenal.  

Recently in:

News

​Best of the Best 2018

by Sabrina Hornung

Last Sunday we celebrated our annual Best Bets award ceremony at the Plains Art Museum and we had a packed house. With awards from over 50 categories, members of our community gathered, rallied and supported each other in our…

Professionally people know me as a trans activist, educator, or community organizer. This is often the topic of my Trans Corner column. What they may not know is I’m an incredible geek who spends her time unwinding playing video…

Thursday, May 31, 5-9 p.m.11 8th St S, FargoNine regional artists join forces in Fargo’s newest artist collective gallery. Along with the core group of artists, art enthusiasts can anticipate guest artists and great opportunities…

“If I look like a kid on Christmas morning, it’s because that’s the way I feel right now. How I wish my parents could have heard the words you said about me,” Luci Baines Johnson said. She was preparing her commencement…

Gadfly

Armageddon and Rage

by Ed Raymond

Is Our Democracy Dying From A Koch Assisted-Suicide?The One Percent is going after wealth like Captain Ahab went after The Great White Whale. Rupert Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal recently wrote about “the up-market way to…

FARGO - A collection of memories from High Plains Reader's annual Cocktail Showdown. Participants were judged on creativity, flavor, and presentation; and this year we added a new category. Like years before, each establishment was…

The organization Nature of the North is storming Fargo with their mission to get everyone out and in nature one way or another. This week’s attempt is a workshop featuring Cyrus Bickell of Disgruntled Brewing in Perham, MN. A man…

Nikki Lane is a trailblazer. Her unique voice could be described as a cross between Wanda Jackson’s grit and Neko Case’s hauntingly smoky vocals. It’s classic and it’s fresh. In 2017 she won an Ameripolitan award in the…

Writer-director Alexandra Dean’s “Bombshell” recounts the remarkable life and achievements of Hedy Lamarr, the Golden Age screen goddess whose physical beauty and career as a Hollywood actor long overshadowed her…

Arts

​Civility is for the Birds

by HPR Contributor

By Tayler Klimektklimek@cord.eduTucked in the back of Roberts Street Studio, if you follow the “yellow brick road” (a funny story, if you get the chance to ask her), you are likely to find local artist Mackenzie Kouba working…

Theater B is giving away seven tickets to go see “The Moors” by Jen Silverman, from April 26 until May 12. Described as part Brontë, part Twilight Zone, “The Moors” is a dark comedy set on a bleak and unforgiving…

Fargo has its share of people who are passionate about stand-up comedy, even if the success of clubs devoted to it has been mixed. Despite the fact we have seen places like Courtney’s Comedy Club and Level 2 Comedy Club close…

I consider myself an avid wine drinker, but I recently found out there are more than 10,000 varieties of grapes, and about 1,500 of those are used to make commercial wines. I don’t know about you, but I could probably name about…

Best Local CelebrityCarson WentzBest Stylist / BarberJed Felix, Everett’s BarbershopBest Salon / Barber ShopEverett’s BarbershopBest Tattoo Parlor46 & 2 TattooBest Tattoo ArtistMeg Felix, No Coast TattooBest Gift ShopZandbroz…

By Melissa Martinmelissamartincounselor@live.comAnd they lived “happily ever after.” Many people in the U.S. believe in love and matrimony, but marriage takes consistent effort and time to weather the ups and downs.According to…

By Ken Smithkelandsmith@gmail.comWhen the State of North Dakota decided to sell the campus of the Ellendale Branch of the University of North Dakota following the disastrous January 1970 fire that destroyed the two main buildings,…