After momentarily losing his inhibitions at a wild, drug-fuelled university party, Felix, an introvert, finally summons the courage to reveal his feelings for Gemma, a sweet, attractive girl (with an aggressive and arrogant boyfriend, Chris) during a game of truth or dare.
The act results in said boyfriend punching Felix and the night ending in a mess, leaving Gemma, Chris and their three friends at odds about the whole incident.
Months later, the group of five receive an invitation to Felix’s birthday party, which is pretty weird given what happened. But considering that Felix is part of a wealthy family, the group put aside their differences and looking forward to yet another wild night.
Sadly though, no lavish venue awaits and a gruff groundskeeper directs them to a small shack on the estate where they meet Justin, the older brother of Felix who regrets to inform them that his sibling is unable to attend and that the party is all but cancelled.
The friends are still encouraged to stay though as Justin offers food and drink to make them comfortable. But before long the laughter fades and it becomes clear that the friends were invited to this horrible, Evil Dead inspired hovel for something quite terrifying.
As the party guests play a deadly game of truth or dare tension mounts and gory saw-esque endurance tests ensue. At this point it would be easy to feel trepidation at the prospect of yet another low budget torture porn effort.
Thankfully though, Truth or Dare doesn’t turn into yet another Saw wannabe. In fact, it turns out that this film wants to be anything but predictable.
What starts out as a nicely made ‘we’ve seen it all before’ British thriller soon turns up the tension with twists and bloody gore. Before long you’re left unsure of quite what’s going to happen next and even which character is the real villain of the piece.
The final acts are refreshing, which is a relief as some of the early weaknesses in the film threaten to spoil it all. Thirty minutes in, it’s easy to be cynical about the fact that the party guests aren’t at all suspicious about being invited to a remote shack to play a party game which had a dramatic outcome the last time it was played.
And although the cast is solid, over enthusiasm by Jennie Jacques playing Eleanor threatens to dilute the realism of the film.
Thankfully though, as Eleanor has less to say, the party host, Justin (David Oakes – The Borgias) fills the void with intensity and the plot solidifies, leaving other issues to fade into insignificance. The result is a film that is convincing and intriguing.
We’re not talking about ground breaking innovation here, but Truth or Dare definitely does prove that there’s a lot of ‘out of the box’ thinking going on in British indie horror at the moment, which is what it needs given the smaller budgets on this side of the Atlantic.