A group of young you-tube video makers known as the Truth or Daredevils stage various video’s depicting them playing a more dangerous version of the game truth or dare. After one such staged performance a fan; Derik decides that the show isn’t real enough, and he brings his version of the game to the team; a much more brutal game!
I’m always a little apprehensive around female directed movies and the way in which they are perceived to be shocking and when the thought process is akin to “how could a woman make this stuff up” then something is clearly wrong with that mentality. However what Jessica Cameron has managed to create with TRUTH OR DARE is one sick puppy of a movie that left a person who believes they have seen it all before sat back in a state of shock and disgust.
The premise of TRUTH OR DARE is simple, disillusioned fan Derik (a fabulously deranged Ryan Kiser) is sick of fake internet trickery in the online phenomenon of Truth or Dare as staged by the Truth or Daredevils and ends up capturing them and this is where the real fun begins. This movie cuts to the chase pretty quickly and offers some of the most disturbing images seen on screen for a long time and several of them made me want to throw up, walk out or just laugh and it is a fine blend of taking you to extremes that Jessica Cameron has created with this movie. It’s not about plot or who or where or why but just taking you to a point in a movie and asking you, as the viewer if you dare to watch this taking place on screen. It pulls no punches in the gore stakes and some of the gruesome dares will turn your stomach or make you cross your legs and wince but it pushes the limits of what is acceptable to just about where the line is but never really crosses it and by mixing it up with humour (some of the answers to the truth questions have to be heard to be believed!) this movie just about gets away with what it is portraying but only just.
This is a deliciously nasty piece of film making that revels in its bloodiness, pushing you to look away but on the other hand wanting you to watch. As the film unfolds we discover more about the six people that are captured and that all is not as it seems but I won’t say anymore on that score. This movie never lets up, once the wheels are set in motion and you think you can’t possibly top what I have just seen then something else comes along which makes you think what the fuck am I watching here. If Jessica Camerons aim was to make a fuck-you movie then she has done it with style and grace and balls in equal measure. A film that you will remember for both the right and wrong reasons, please go and see this.
Director Jessica Cameron explodes on to the scene with this micro budget movie that shows that ingenuity and a clear love and understanding of the genre can plant you firmly on the, ‘horror directors to watch’ list. Whether consciously or not, most great horror movies are ‘about something’, they comment on their times, often warning of the punishment we can all expect to reap for the seeds we sow. In Cameron’s debut feature the zeitgeist of “I’ll do anything to be famous” proves to be the downfall of our six members of the Truth or Daredevils when their number one fan comes a calling and wants to play. And boy, does he make them pay while play!
By having events unfold onto a live YouTube feed, the unseen masses who watch transfixed to their screens, unable to look away however disgusting and gross (and trust me it gets VERY disgusting and gross!) proceedings get. Of course we, the viewers of the film are no different. Excepting the inevitable walkouts that must have ensued from the on screen nastiness, the rest of us sit compliant whilst Ryan Kiser’s utterly deranged Derik B. Smith character forces the ever diminishing and blood soaked friends on to ever more demented truth or dares. Cameron exonerates herself from the accusations of peddling depraved and sick filth because as the audience we just cant stop watching. The audience become rubberneckers, watching humanity pushed to the most primal, as characters firstly unburden themselves of the lies and social niceties of their lives, and then follow any instruction that may lead to their survival.
There are times when the conceit doesn’t completely play true, but again Cameron knows the genre, if logic dictates for instance that every one of the tortured team would plum for a truth rather than a dare then just have an insane ringmaster. Kiser’s character changes the rules, mixing it up and keeping the action going. In a film packed with strong character pieces from the whole cast, Kiser rises above them all, orchestrating the friends descent into hell with the unbridled glee of child at the funfair. I kept imagining him with top hat, munching on candy floss arms waving as he directs the madness. But then I’m odd.
Truth or Dare isn’t a film for all, it is horrific, it is disgusting, but for a mature horror audience who are looking for an original visceral horror experience, Jessica Cameron has delivered.
I have now witnessed Truth or Dare twice now, first at Frightfest and more recently at Grimm Up North (Manchester’s genre festival). On the second viewing most of my minor gripes I had with the film have disappeared. My biggest fault was mostly down to Brandon Van Vliet’s performance in the first 10 minutes; I can now blame the technical issue with the film for my incorrect judgement; his performance is actually very good.
Jessica Cameron is one of indie horrors major scream queens, in a very short space of time Cameron has produced an impressive body of acting credits. With Truth or Dare she not only stars in the film but she also steps behind the camera to direct it. For her debut feature this is a very solid effort it may be a little rough around the edges, it does struggle with its low budget, but even so it still punches well above its weight. This is all down to Cameron’s drive to produce a film which is going to deliver the blood and guts back to the horror fans; she wants to make you squirm, make you feel uneasy, make you feel sick. 2 People left the screening in Manchester not to return till the credits had rolled, I’m not sure if they were sick but Cameron’s little horror film was just too much for them. I admit I did squirm a few times, literally there is some “balls-out” torture porn on show here; with tonnes of blood, guts and other body parts strewn all over the place, Cameron and crew do not hold back at all. There was a policy of nothing was off the table, nothing was taboo; if they could do it they would do it; if this policy continues God only knows what Cameron will throw at us next.
However Truth or Dare isn’t just about blood and guts, the film has an intelligent screenplay. Once they know the consequences of the dares, most of the team will pick truth. Unless the truths are something that they would never want anyone else to know about. Having some dark secrets each member of the team harbour and as each come to light suddenly Derik (Ryan Kiser) isn’t the only villain in the room anymore. Some may say the secrets are just another level of bad taste, but they are shocking for a purpose; to break the unity of the team and divide them. It adds a whole new dimension to the film; without this the film may have suffered and become a little tedious if it was relying just on graphic torture!
The cast are all very good, but its Ryan Kiser who gives a standout performance, Derik is a man on the edge, craving fame, to be part of something. Derik really wants to join the Truth Or Darevdevils, and bring his version of the game to the fans. Kiser’s energy is relentless and he really drives the film. There are some gut wrenching scenes and kudos to the cast for going through with them; I know it’s only acting but still it looked pretty gruesome.
Truth or dare is shockingly good fun; it pulls no punches; sets out to shock; it will offend some but this is a horror film for horror fans; it’s not safe pg-13, it’s hard R and it’s all the better for it. Jessica
Cameron has defiantly made a big impact with this film; a bold statement of her intent to bring the horror back to horror films!
For days prior to the screening I was hearing about how messed up this film was. How people had thrown up (on set and in the audience) and audience members had fainted at previous screenings. I took it with a pinch of salt and figured it was a bit of OTT word of mouth promotion by the director, then I was handed a vomit bag as I walked into the screening. I was a little worried. How bad is this movie actually going to be? Is it going to be watchable or just a mess? Am I actually going to need a vomit bag???
Truth or Dare is a very very sick film. It is also dark, twisted, violent and laugh out loud funny (just not at the violence.. well maybe a little).
Taking the premise of a YouTube stunt group making fake videos and pissing off its fan base. The group is forced at gunpoint into a ultimate game of truth or dare by a deranged fan (Derik). As the game continues the dares (obviously) get worse, more extreme and for the viewer – more uncomfortable. The game seems to be comprised of ‘the sickest things we could think of and film that we could afford’ and for me anyway, seemed to go a little too far at points. Especially some of the truth revelations which were a little far fetched for the ‘superfan’ to know but for everyone else to be oblivious to. But in the screening the uncomfortable comedic situation of the revelations were lapped up by the audience breaking into laughter.
A lot of films that go out of their way to try and be a ‘sick’ or a ‘balls out horror film’ never usually work (for me). The attempt to collect a bunch of ‘sick’ visuals and ideas together as a movie can often fall a bit flat as filmmakers get caught up in the ideas of all the cool stuff they get to do and forget about actually writing a decent script or plot to help move the film along. This is where Truth or Dare didn’t let me down. The plot of the film moves along nicely, care has been taken to the game as well so it develops with the film and docent plateau too early on. Unlike some other films recently (cough cough Annabelle cough) Truth or Dare actually ramps up the tension and develops over its 90 minute runtime. The lead actor Ryan Kisser as the super fan Derik is an excellent performance, his anger mixed with shock persona nails the situation perfectly and even though he plays the heel, he is extremely affable.
Truth or Dare as a premise could have fallen flat on its face after about 20 minutes and just left itself to shock tactics and gruesome imagery to garner itself a fan base (which it would have no doubt gained). It hasn’t. Yes its gruesome and at points had me shifting uncomfortably in my seat as to what is, and what was about to happen. But at no point was I bored or wanting to give up on it.
By the way, no one threw up in the screening (this was a good thing).