Monday 30 July 2012

Silly games: "Truth or Dare"

I've found the following a good general rule in life: should the nerd you've publicly humiliated at a party invite you to his isolated country cottage several months later for fun and frolics, it is - however much alcoholic and narcotic refreshment or barely legal tail is rumoured to be on offer - always going to be best to claim you're washing your hair that night. This, of course, doesn't enter into the pretty little heads of the rich kids in the new British horror flick Truth or Dare, who duly set out for the advertised good time, only to be confronted with the consequences of their actions when the ex-squaddie brother of the nerd in question holds them all hostage and demands to know why they did what they did.

Robert Heath's film operates on or about the same level as last year's fly-by-night quickie Demons Never Die. It has a watchable young cast, and has been staged with a basic competency, which isn't always a given at this level of filmmaking; Heath fares marginally better with six people in a room than he did with the three people in a room of his debut, the lifeless theatrical adaptation SUS. Still, it gets static and repetitious, the bottlespinning encoded in the title cueing a limited set of responses: the tortured weep and wail, while their captor has but the one torture method (battery acid) at his disposal, giving this very 15-rated entry the feel of a rather toothless Saw.

It's not an especially good sign that Heath feels the need to throw on rent-a-geezer Jason Maza around the hour mark to freshen matters up, but the bigger problem lies at the conceptual level, with a script that asks us to side with - or even remotely care about - a set of squealing, squabbling, varyingly sympathetic Young Conservatives over a victim of bullying and somebody who fought for their country. I don't suppose anyone involved in Truth or Dare had the slightest intention of making a statement - not when they could be making money, or a name for themselves (and good luck with that, fellas) - but I can't help but think this is what happens to a film industry when we elect the likes of Dave "Dave" Cameron to office.

Truth or Dare opens in selected cinemas from Friday.

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