Truth or Dare, also known as Blumhouse's Truth or Dare, is a 2018 American supernatural horror film directed and co-written (alongside Michael Reisz, Jillian Jacobs, and Chris Roach) by Jeff Wadlow. The film stars Lucy Hale, Tyler Posey, Violett Beane, Hayden Szeto, Sophia Taylor Ali, and Landon Liboiron as a group of college students who play a game of truth or dare while on vacation in Mexico, only to realize it has deadly consequences if they don't follow through on their obligations. Jason Blum produced through his Blumhouse Productions banner, and Universal Pictures distributed the film.
Simran Hans of The Observer gave the film 2/5 stars, writing: "This tepid teen horror from Blumhouse Productions is a disappointing backwards stumble for the indie company, given its recent track record of cheap but effective genre thrills such as Split and Happy Death Day (as well as the considerably higher profile Get Out)." Robbie Collin of The Daily Telegraph also gave the film 2/5 stars, describing it as "the kind of film that must have seemed like a good idea at the time, but its initially appealing premise... quickly falls to pieces under its own self-generated confusions." Geoffrey Macnab of The Independent also gave the film 2/5 stars, writing: "A few moments of ingenuity aside, Truth or Dare is lacklustre filmmaking. Its premise is so contrived that any attempts at stirring up dread or suspense are stifled at the outset."
Bruce DeMara of the Toronto Star gave the film 2.5/4 stars, saying that it "isn't all that daring, although it is not without its twisted charm." Benjamin Lee of The Guardian gave the film 3/5 stars, writing: "Hackneyed horror tropes persist throughout and so does some crushingly exposition-heavy dialogue... but it rattles along at a fair lick, never resting for too long before another nasty surprise."
It's not until the series' third episode where the most sordid and improbable aspect of the Stayner family saga comes to light. The mere fact that one family found itself at two very different ends of horrific crimes almost demands a narrative tidiness that neither the filmmakers nor the facts can provide. Attempts are made to draw a clean line from Steven's abduction, and the havoc it wreaked on his family, to what occured years later, but the pieces connect at jagged ends. In in this, it's perhaps a story that's too big to be told in a TV documentary. As Kay Stayner says in the opening minutes of the series, "Not many true stories have a happy ending." Captive Audience does its best to acknowledge that jaggedness and tell the Stayner family's story as responsibly as it can. That may cause frustration for some, but it feels appropriate.
This movie is actually slightly better than "The Amityville Horror," maybe because it rips off superior source material. It starts with the most notorious piece of real estate in North America. Then it lifts ingredients from "The Exorcist," "Poltergeist," and 'Murder in Amityville,' which was the book about the original Amityville horror.
Perhaps a bit of history is called for. Although there is great doubt about whether the best-selling 'The Amityville Horror' was fact or fiction, there seems to be no doubt that a terrible mass murder did occur in the infamous Amityville house, some years prior to the events in "Horror.". A young man living in the house went berserk and killed his parents, two sisters, and a brother. After he was institutionalized, the house stood empty for a while before being sold to the Bill Lutz family. As all "Amityville" fans already know, the Lutzes soon began to wonder if they'd made a good buy after the house filled up with green slime, swarms of flies, and pigs with glowing red eyes. They eventually fled the house. (These days, of course, a lot of people would be happy to live with the slime and the flies if they could assume the Lutzes' 81 percent mortgage.)
No matter how terrifying a horror movie can be, you know in the back of your head that the events that are taking place aren't real. There's no way a a kid's doll became possessed by the soul of a serial killer and went on a rampage, murdering everyone in sight. Don't get too comfy because plenty of these movies have roots in reality.
Now, before you go burning all your precious Cabbage Patch Kids, you'll probably want to know which horror classics are based on actual or true events. Luckily, lots of horror movies seem to pull from one serial killer, and he's been dead since the '80s, so there's no need to cower in the corner until the end of days. Some of these films stray far from the bounds of reality, while others stick true to their non-fiction source material. Either way, they're all terrifying in their own rights.
The fact: The Blob was inspired by a 1950 incident involving a handful of Philadelphia police officers who witnessed a mysterious, gelatinous alien mass fall from the sky. It allegedly dissolved before long, and thankfully didn't eat anyone. (source)
The fact: Psycho's story, adapted from a 1959 book of the same name, is based loosely on the real world murderer Ed Gein, whose fixation on his mother and other qualities are mirrored in the character Norman Bates. (source)
The fact: The Exorcist was adapted from the 1971 novel of the same name. The book was based at least partially on the story of an unidentified 13-year-old boy who exhibited signs of possession in Cottage City, MD in 1949. (source)
The fact: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre was marketed as "based on a true story," which isn't entirely accurate--although Leatherface was inspired by real life killer Ed Gein, who also wore human skin over his own. (source)
The fact: The Hills Have Eyes and its 2006 remake are modern retellings of the story of Sawney Bean, who legend has it led a clan of dozens of cannibals in killing over 1,000 people in Scotland around the 16th century. (source)
The fact: The Town That Dreaded Sundown was based on similar murders that took place in Texarkana between February and May of 1946. It was even shot there, with several locals cast as extras. (source)
The fact: The events of Eaten Alive, which also went by the alternate titles Death Trap, Horror Hotel, and Starlight Slaughter, were based on the real life "alligator killer," Joe Ball. Ball murdered at least two women in the 1930s, and rumor is he disposed of the bodies by feeding them to the pet alligators he kept at his Elmendorf, Texas bar. (source)
The fact: Audrey Rose was adapted from a novel of the same title by Frank De Felitta, who was inspired to explore reincarnation in his writing after his 6-year-old son allegedly began spontaneously playing ragtime piano. (source)
The fact: Based on Jay Anson's book of the same name, The Amityville Horror is a well known retelling of Ronald J. DeFeo Jr.'s real life murder of his parents and four siblings, and the subsequent events experienced by the house's later owners. (source)
The fact: The Entity was adapted from the novel of the same name by Frank De Felitta (also the author of Audrey Rose). It was based on the story of a Culver City, Calif. woman who believed she was being raped by ghosts. (source)
The fact: Wes Craven was inspired by reports of Asian men throughout the '70s and '80s dying in their sleep, a phenomenon that at the time was labeled "Asian Death Syndrome." (source)
The fact: It was based on the nonfiction book of the same name by real world ethnobotanist Wade Davis, who investigated the story of alleged zombie Clairvius Narcisse. (source)
The fact: Chucky's story was inspired by Robert, a haunted doll that allegedly talked and inspired fits of rage in its young owner. Robert is still on display in the Florida Key West Martello Museum. (source)
The fact: It's been speculated that The Dentist was based on the true story of Dr. Glennon Edward Engleman, a Missouri dentist who, over decades, convinced multiple women to marry other men, who he would then murder. They'd split the insurance checks. (source)
The fact: Ravenous was inspired both by the Donner Party, the infamous group of pioneers who were forced to resort to cannibalism after becoming stranded in the Sierra Nevada mountains, and by Alfred Packer, who apparently ate his companions on a gold-prospecting expedition when they became stranded in the Rockies. (source)
The fact: Real world journalist John Keel wrote the book The Mothman Prophecies after investigating hundreds of reports of sightings and other strange phenomena in Point Pleasant, West Virginia during the late 1960s. (source)
The fact: The true story involves Tom and Eileen Lonergan, who were left behind while scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef because their tour guides failed to take a head count. Their bodies were never found. (source)
The fact: In real life a German woman named Anneliese Michel died after being subjected to an exorcism. She was found to have been malnourished and dehydrated, and her parents and the responsible priests were charged with negligent homicide and sentenced to three years' probation. Her epilepsy was likely the real culprit. (source)
The fact: Writer and director Greg McLean said Wolf Creek was based on three separate real life Australian serial killers: Ivan Milat, AKA The Backpacker Killer, who murdered backpackers in the '90s; Bradley Murdoch, who allegedly tried to kidnap a woman after murdering her boyfriend; and the Snowtown Murders, a series of 11 grisly murders carried out by four men and one woman in the small town of Snowtown in South Australia. (source) 2b1af7f3a8