After a shocking opening scene we are introduced to Olivia (Lucy Hale), Lucas (Tyler Posey), Markie (Violett Beane), Brad (Hayden Szeto), Tyson (Nolan Gerard Funk) and Penelope (Sophia Taylor Ali) who are a group of college kids heading out on their final Spring Break holiday together. The group travel to Mexico where we are treated to their drunken Instagram story montage before we join them in a bar/nightclub. By this point we have established the characters' personalities be they goody-two-shoes like Olivia, or a bit of a knob like Tyson.
Feeling a little jealous of her friends' romantic lives, Olivia starts chatting to a guy at the bar (Landon Liboiron) after he intervenes when a college acquaintance named Ronnie (Sam Lerner), won't take no for an answer. Upon introducing himself as Carter the guy invites Olivia and her friends to a secluded building for an after party. Desperate to prove herself to be fun, Olivia persuades her friends and, somehow also Ronnie, to go. The group begin to play a game of Truth or Dare which suddenly escalates when Carter announces that he has tricked them all to begin playing as his own dare. He warns them that they cannot break the rules and leaves the confused and stunned group.
After returning home, Olivia and the others begin to experience strange occurrences and it soon becomes evident that Carter was not lying and they really are caught in a life or death game that won't end...
A pretty grim, if simple, premise that manages to be intriguing and entertaining. The characters are mostly unlikeable, but in that charming horror film way that we're all accustomed to. As the game progresses we get to learn a little more about each person's secrets as well as how far they are willing to go in order to remain alive.
The effects and death scenes are excellently portrayed with the odd 'snapchat filter' face of those possessed by the game managing to be both creepy and oddly subtle. Each death has a quality of creativity similar to the "Final Destination" films, and there were times I even found myself wincing.
For a film I'd anticipated to be one of the common disposable college horror films, it actually delivered a pretty solid and even somewhat thoughtful piece which evaluated the selfishness of the characters as well as entertained me with some good ol' gruesome antics. Of course the story behind the game felt a little cheesy, but what's a horror film without some cheese?
[Image: Blumhouse Productions]