APRIL 13, 2018 -- Here comes Jason Blum and Blumhouse Productions again with their enviable business model of spend less, make lots. Their earlier release, "Insidious: The Last Key" cost $10 million to produce and earning a very respectable $67 million. Last year they released "Get Out", "Split", "Happy Death Day", and "Sleight" which earned a total of $377 million with a total investment of less tha $18 million. Keep in mind that "A Quiet Place" has earned a respectable $54 million but cost $17 million to produce.


I'm guessing that their latest film, "Truth of Dare", probably cost them around $4 million - maybe less and will no doubt at least earn that back in the first weekend. But it might be a tight squeeze as this Jeff Wadlow (Kick Ass 2) directed yawner leaves a bit to be desired.


The story is pretty straightforward - a group of college friends shoot down to Mexico for spring break. Olivia (Lucy Hale) reluctantly joins her friends Markie (Violett Beane) her beau Lucas (Tyler Posey), Tyson (Nolan Funk), Penelope (Sophia Ali) and Brad (Hayden Szeto) after they promise to do a good deed if she goes. Tagging along in a way is outcast Ronnie (Sam Lerner) who is the basic jerk nobody likes.

The night before they leave Mexico, Olivia runs into a strange guy named Carter (Landon Liboiron) who convinces her and the group to join him at an abandoned Catholic building to play a game of truth or dare. What he doen't tell them is the building is possessed and so is the game. The game will continue even after they leave.


As the game continues with an ominous presence challenging them to tell the truth or dare to do something dangerous. If they chose not to participate, the entity kills them. The full intent of the game is to cause misery and madness; we learn that in the opening scene when a crazed Giselle (Aurora Perrineau) sets a strange woman on fire in a convenience store.


One by one the friends are challenged to truth or dare, but too much time is spent developing their characters. Wadlow wastes a lot of effort creating backstories on just about everyone when all we really want to see is how they die. Who is sleeping with whom is really insignificant and yet we get tons of it to the poin the film gets boring.


In fact, so much time is spent on the backstories, missing are Blumhouse signature things-that-go-bump scenes that raise the hairs on your back. The film even takes a feeble stab at the "Final Destination" franchise with the a low suspense who-goes-next-and-how format that just doesn't play well. And what's with those stupid grins each victim encounters?


As usual, the talent is B-grade and no matter what, this won't hurt their careers; the writers though? That's a different story!


"Truth of Dare" will probably not satisfy any fright flick fan and will disappoint the Blumhouse fans out there. Director Jeff Wadlow lays a big egg that will probably still make a profit because that is the Blumhouse way.   -- GRADE C-  --   GEOFF BURTON