Belfast Telegraph

Review: Truth Or Dare - utterly forgettable, if truth be told

 

By Damon Smith

Games of spin the bottle and truth or dare have been a rite of passage for generations of teenagers keen to explore their burgeoning sexuality.

The good-looking protagonists of director Jeff Wadlow's horror thriller risk losing more than their dignity when they are drawn into a high-stakes game of honesty and forfeit in an abandoned Mexican monastery.

Olivia (Lucy Hale) is poised to spend her final spring break before graduation working for a charity until she agrees to accompany best friend Markie (Violett Beane) and her boyfriend Lucas (Tyler Posey), Penelope (Sophia Ali) and her boyfriend Tyson (Nolan Gerard Funk), and their gay pal Brad (Hayden Szeto) to Mexico for a week of partying to excess.

At one beach bar, Olivia meets handsome stranger Carter (Landon Liboiron). He invites the group to a late-night drinking session and later to play a game of truth or dare.

But it transpires Carter has lured them into a deadly real-life game of concealment and consequences.

Truth Or Dare reserves one satisfying narrative bump for the final scene, but otherwise the two-dimensional characters are easy fodder for slaughter.

Our lack of sympathy for the students extinguishes dramatic tension and the plot spins wildly out of control when the screenwriters reveal the origin of the evil.

In truth, Wadlow's film is mildly diverting but instantly forgettable. I dare you to disagree.

Three stars

Rampage: Laughably terrible, CGI-driven mess

If any proof was needed of humanity's hubris, look no further than Rampage.

The ineptitude of Brad Peyton's film is remarkable, eliciting peels of unintentional laughter with its clumsy dialogue and ham-fisted attempts to create a touching bond between muscular lead star Dwayne Johnson and a digitally rendered ape.

Rampage the video game was a mindless and entertaining exercise in wanton destruction.

The big-screen adaptation lacks even this vicarious thrill as we watch a genetically edited gorilla, wolf and American crocodile tumble skyscrapers like dominos in the centre of Chicago.

Johnson plays former special forces operative turned primatologist Davis Okoye, who is part of a close-knit team based at San Diego Wildlife Sanctuary.

Davis has raised an albino silverback gorilla called George since the ape's mother was slaughtered by poachers, and the creature trusts Davis implicitly, communicating using basic sign language.

Canisters of a serum engineered by Energyne Industries, controlled by scheming Claire Wyden (Malin Akerman), fall to Earth from an exploding space station.

George is infected and the normally mild-mannered ape develops heightened aggression as he rapidly increases in size and bulk.

Discredited genetic engineer Dr Kate Caldwell (Naomie Harris) pledges to help Davis discover a cure before George is deemed a risk to human life and has to be destroyed by shadowy government agent Harvey Russell (Jeffrey Dean Morgan).

Dizzying action sequences saturated with computer trickery pummel us into weary submission and demand no emotional response.

"Thanks for saving the world," coos one character to Johnson's swaggering hero.

Thanks for nothing.

Two stars

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