Truth or Dare, 2013
Written and directed by Jessica Cameron
Starring Jessica Cameron, Ryan Kiser, Heather Dorff, Shelby Stehlin, Devanny Pinn, Brandon Van Vielet, Jesse Wilson, Buz Wallick
Six college kids find internet stardom when they make “Truth or Dare” videos with a violent twist. It is all fun and games until their number one fan decides he wants to play by his own rules.
Imagine if the Jackass crew was less about jumping into dirty rivers and more about shooting each other in the face. Then imagine their biggest fan held the hostage and forced them to perform these stunts with more deadly consequences. Written, directed and starring Jessica Cameron, Truth or Dare sees a group of Internet stars called the Truth or Daredevils famed for performing life-threatening pranks, being held against their will by a crazed fan who wants to be part of their group and be famous too. The dares are deadly and the truths are horribly revealing and there only looks to be one winner to come out of it.
Truth or Dare is a very bloody, gory and disgusting movie shot on a low budget and is a lot better than it might look like on paper. The performances are all solid, the special effects are great and you do feel for the characters are they are put into this situation. It raises questions about the lengths some people will go to in order to be “famous on the Internet” – which seems to a buzzword at the moment as both V/H/S: Viral and Into the Storm feature the same plot point – and Truth or Dare is certainly an interesting take on the Jackass culture in a Youtube age.
Sadly the film has two major flaws that really hamper the quality and impact of the story. The first issue is that Cameron doesn’t set this group up enough to the point where their show isn’t all that clear. The movie opens with one of their videos being filmed, but is this their first movie or is it another in a long list of skits? They seem to gain overnight success, but they have a legion of fans around the world. Cameron would have been better off showing us more of their skits to give us some idea of what we can expect from a standard episode. Truth or Dare doesn’t waste time getting to the meat of the story as the crazed fan has them captured and playing his game in the opening 10 minutes and this could have been delayed in order to set up the Truth or Daredevils a little better.
The second issue, and this one is a much larger, is that Cameron’s script doesn’t seem to understand the term “escalation of fear”. Just as quickly as the plot kicks into gear, so do the disturbing revelations. Within in the first few rounds of the game, its revealed that one is them is a paedophile, they’re into incest, tongues are cut out and all manner of madness occurs. If Cameron had built to this slowly, it would have huge impact, but as it stands when one of them is tasked with performing necrophilia, it doesn’t seem so sick. To the movie’s credit, Truth or Dare does push the boundaries of socially acceptable visuals and that is certainly one of it’s strongest assets.
With a few tweaks to the plot and pacing, Truth or Dare could have been a great movie. In this form however, it’s merely okay. The violence, bloodshed and disturbing imagery set this above a lot of low budget horrors, but its lack of story and escalation really hurt its quality. Truth or Dare is a mixed bag. A very bloody and gross mixed bag, but a mixed bag none the less.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★
Luke Owen is the Deputy Editor of Flickering Myth and the host of the Flickering Myth Podcast. You can follow him on Twitter @LukeWritesStuff.