Review / ‘Truth or Dare’ (MA) ** and a half

IT’S a game. Games have rules. In writer/director Jeff Wadlow’s thriller with a mystic overtone, the penalty for telling an untruth or refusing to accept a dare is the same. You’re about to become dead.

Characters signal involuntary malignant intentions with a rictus smile that appears with increasing frequency as a group of young adults come under the game’s inescapable influence.

Olivia (Lucy Hale) and Markie (Violett Beane) celebrate graduation by visiting Mexico. At a bar, Carter (Landon Liboiron) persuades the pair, together with assorted boyfriends, to visit an abandoned church on top of a hill out in the boonies. Carter initiates them in the game without telling them about its strange propensity to punish the players – who, one by one, get to be dead.

The young actors have yet to amass impressive CVs. Maybe in time they will overcome that career-limiting shortcoming. But they’ll need to appear in films of better creative merit than this one. They do their best with material that does slowly grab you as the film progresses. But it’s been done before.

At Capitol 6, Hoyts and Limelight

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