Truth Or Die (2012)

OCTOBER 8, 2012


I've lost count (well, that's not true, I never actually started counting in the first place) of how many times a producer or director has claimed that his horror movie is not a horror but "psychological thriller" or some such nonsense, despite the fact that it's basically just a quick way to get your bread and butter to think you're an asshole. But I'm pretty sure Truth Or Die (formerly Truth Or Dare) is the first time where the producer kept referring to his movie as horror when it indeed WAS more of a thriller.

A few somewhat nasty deaths aside, this is a straight up thriller version of a Terror Train or Slaughter High type movie where an awkward guy gets ridiculed, bad things happen, and now some revenge is in order. But it's not the poor nerd doing the revenging - it's his older brother, because we learn that the young man hung himself after one of the group threatened to expose what really happened that night, because the truth (which we learn near the end of the film) would embarrass him. So the brother assembles the group of friends, ties them to chairs (sigh), and makes them play a deadly game of truth or dare in order to find out who sent his brother the menacing postcard that led him to put a rope around his neck.

But that's it. There's no stalking or chase scenes, the killer is up front with both his identity and his intentions, and there isn't even a big body count (roughly 5, at least two off-screen). So as a "horror film", it lacks the basic elements of how a film can be scary, and that's BEFORE you take into consideration that all of our characters are assholes that you won't be rooting for anyway. So it's like Saw II except Amanda wouldn't be pretending to be a victim, there's no B story about Donnie Wahlberg, and no traps. Sound exciting?

That said, it's not a bad movie, just somewhat uninvolving. The "truth or dare" motif actually works pretty good, allowing for a nice blend of tense "truth" scenes where people inadvertently blurt out things they were trying to hide from their friends/lovers, and the "dare" scenes provide the violence, including a nasty bit where a tube is inserted into the victim's mouth with a "left or right" choice. One valve will just pour water into their mouths. The other: acid. SPOILER: we see both scenarios play out. And just when the game would get tired, we're given a decent-ish twist after a few people get loose, so the movie picks up some momentum. At times it reminded me of Among Friends, which also involved a group of friends tied to chairs and being forced to reveal secret pasts, but that one never escalated - once they're seated, the entire movie is in that dining room. So since I was experiencing deja vu for a while here, it was a nice little bonus to see them mix it up in the last 20-25 minutes.

However, I was a bit put off by the film's conclusion, and thus I'll have to spoil a couple details (I'll leave the names out). The full details of this "embarrassment" are revealed, and we learn that it involved a drunken gay encounter between the hanged kid and one of the group's male members. The script makes efforts to explain why this would be so damaging (it's a very "proud" family with an overbearing father and a militant brother), but it's still a touch homophobic, even if not intentional, as the movie thus revolves around people being murdered because someone threatened to expose someone's bisexuality. Add to that the fact that one of the most heinous people in the movie is the one to survive and you have an ending that can't possibly satisfy anyone in the crowd (well, besides assholes).

If nothing else, it's a great looking film; I assume the budget wasn't high but it looks better than some "big budget" movies I've seen lately (Haywire comes to mind), and even though it's mostly interior shots director Robert Heath puts the 2.35:1 aspect ratio to good use, filling the frame with something worth looking at more often than not. Sometimes you see a scope movie where it can be cropped down without really losing anything but empty backgrounds, but that's not the case here. It also boasts a fine sound mix, and even though I didn't like any of their characters I found most of the actors to be a notch or two above average; Jennie Jacques in particular was quite good playing the most multi-layered of the group.

The only bonus feature is the aforementioned making of, which besides the "if you say so" stressing that it's a horror film is mostly populated with the actors, producers, and Heath explaining how great everyone else is - nothing essential. I'm surprised it didn't have the trailer; I was curious how they would have marketed the film given the limited action (Youtube gave me the answer - pretty accurately! The trailer's rather dull itself). Instead, we get three trailers for previous "Bloody Disgusting Selects" titles, including the great Exit Humanity, which is probably the best acquisition yet (of the ones I've seen anyway). It also lacks a subtitle option, which should be mandatory nowadays. Deaf folks like to watch movies too!

What say you?


  1. I usually give all the "Bloody Disgusting Selects" movies a chance, so I'll definitely check this out.

  2. You criticize too much. Just because the film doesnt end the way you want it to end doesnt mean it has a bad ending you idiot. I didnt want the ending to end that way either, heck I wanted the bitch to die, but it was still good and worth watching.

    ""There's no stalking or chase scenes, the killer is up front with both his identity and his intentions, and there isn't even a big body count (roughly 5, at least two off-screen). So as a "horror film", it lacks the basic elements of how a film can be scary"" -- You're just a nutjob who desperately wants attention with your writing no matter how bad it is. Just because a horror flick lacks the number of deaths, or the killer tells his reason for killing early doesnt mean its not good horror. A horror film can be good in many ways, with many twists, plot types, and settings. You dont always need car chases or people slashing off each other heads to have a good horror movie.

    You already spoiled the main points in the movie from the 2nd paragraph with out giving us a spoiler warning. Good thing I watched the movie first before I read your blog.

    You are an asshole for hating the movie just because it doesnt end the way you want it to end.

    Im offended by u calling other viewers the swear word if we liked the ending. The ending was not because we liked the bitch. It was good because the film compelled and kept the viewers involved with high degree of suspense and shock until the credits came out. People liked the ending because it had a nice twist in the end and it was unpredictable. Not because we like bullies. Grow up ffs.

    1. I like that you're offended about my use of a swear word when you repeatedly call the character a "bitch". And that you're clearly not familiar with the site (which is always spoiler-filled as per the info right at the top of the page), because you don't seem like the type that's interested in having an actual discussion, or else you yourself would leave the namecalling out of your reply and just explain why you DID indeed enjoy the movie. Because that's what the site's for. Good day.

    2. I called the character a bitch, not the viewers who watched it. How can she not be (The woman in the end). I was not offended by his swearing. I was offended by how he used it. He called all the people who liked the ending of the movie "crowd of assholes" just because we liked the way the movie ended. That is completely obscured, and I will be offended by it because I liked the ending. Even though the woman in the end was a bitch. Note that I called the character a bitch, not the actual people or actors. Im not sure if you have seen this movie.

    3. I know you can write spoilers. But in the 2nd paragraph, you basically gave the main points of the movie without any spoiler alert. Thats why I was talking about you not giving any spoiler alert from the 2nd paragraph of your post. Not the spoilers you gave out with the spoiler warnings. Try to know what im saying before ur quick to jump on ur keyboard to reply back.

  3. You have a very weak taste in movies, and you dont know how to evaluate and assess them. Your review wasnt good. You are very stereotypical. Read other peoples reviews on movies so you can know how to analyze them.

    I myself am not good in reviews, heck I have never written them but the things that you bring up as your opinions and thoughts about this movie are very weak and im sorry to say this dull. Very very few people would agree with your review. I watched this movie just this night, and I would definitely not write the same review as you. But yeah.... its your review, your opinion, so I still respect it because you have the right to express what ever you want.

    I disliked your post so much that those stupid nutjob blogspot people wouldnt let me post my previous comment because they thought I dissed your stupidity too much. Dont worry if the blogspot people had let it pass, your mommy would have been there for you in that little basement of yours to calm you down after you started cryings because your feelings got hurt.

    You basically gave out the main points of this horror film without giving a any spoiler warning from your second paragraph. I dont know if you do not completely know how to hide spoiler, or you were just being stupid. But I do know this, people wanna watch movies first, not read about what happened in them in reviews. I dont care if this was a blog, you still have to hide all of the spoilers if intent is to write a review about the movie.

    1. Well again, regular readers know the deal with spoilers. Sometimes I mark them anyway, but these aren't typical reviews and thus not beholden to the "rules".

      And blogspot has nothing to do with your comment not appearing right away, I have to approve them all. It's so I don't miss any charming replies such as this.

  4. I saw the movie and I liked the review. I really feel like the "awkward" teen seemed mildly autistic and I think that using a character with a disability in this way is distasteful. (Well if you believe my reading of the story to be true) I also thought the movie was misogynistic as the blonde was very pure and wholesome and the brunette was to put it bluntly evil. The movie was also most definitely homophobic, whether this was intentional or not doesn't matter. It was deeply disturbing, but mostly just not very well written. That said it did look pretty.

    1. As someone who is actually "mildly autistic", I didn't find this aspect of the film insulting or objectionable. Clearly it was a film with a theme of bullying. And actually I didn't even notice any particularly glaring "autistic" cues, and I find this point to be a bit of a stretch. It was clearly the "nerd", "geek", "outsider" type character. I find the review to be basically accurate. I don't have a particular problem with lack of excessive grisliness (a big fan of the horror genre but not so much of the slasher, gore-for-gore's sake sub-genre). I too however found the ending really unfortunate. The most sympathetic character in the film for me was clearly Felix, the bullying victim: Cute, nice, interesting, conscientious, conflicted, multidimensional kid. So first he's humiliated, then (we find out) he's re-humiliated (the sex taping) then he's abused again (blackmail), then he attempts suicide.... after surviving all this, the "sympathetic girl" character comes back and threatens to cut his throat, THEN he is humiliated again by the disgusting "bitch" character (as she's been referred to here, I forget the character's name). Then he is forced to (successfully this time) attempt suicide yet again??? And "The Bitch" gets away??? Risking the wrath of the horrible troll above, yes the psychologically irritating accumulation of all these things did make this a very dissatisfying film ultimately. And I hate to even say this because I actually found it surprisingly compelling as I watched. The ending was horrible however. I wanted Felix at least, in a last effort, to find the feeble muscle coordination necessary to lob the grenade at the girl and blow them all up together. That would have been far more satisfying. But it is what it is.

  5. I actually quite agree with the OP here. Then again, I only look for reviews after I've watched a movie..and it's so hard to find discussions regarding the end of a movie that it drives me nuts. So I kind of like the spoilers and opinions on them.

    Ultimately, I didn't find it suspenseful. I have to say, I only really cared for one or two characters and those were the nerd and his older brother.
    SPOILER (kind of):
    I only started to feel SOME pity for Elaina (sp?) and her boyfriend near the end after the revelation of the postcard. And then I am absolutely infuriated with the end of the movie.

    I watch a lot of horror/thrillers. And I must say the phenomenal villain with a motive (charismatic with a strong purpose) makes this fall more under the thriller category (in terms of the actual plot). The gore, however, contributes to this being in the horror genre (..though very loosely so). I liked the movie insofar as I wanted to see how it was going to play out. I wanted to know who wrote the postcard. I wanted to know what was going to happen and who would survive, but was frustrated and unsatisfied with the ending.

    Ultimately, I would give this movie an average rating. I mean, it was absolutely a thriller and had components that made it good. But other parts of it undermined its ability to be a great movie. (And from a psychological perspective, people tend to really remember the beginnings and ends of things and the middle, not so much. In this movie, the beginning was weak because of the characters and how it was really just showing them doing drugs and drinking and not much else). And the end, though "unforgettable", was something I didn't find satisfactory.

    However, the director wisely wove in details from the beginning with the rest of the movie, creating a decent plot. Not the best, not the worst. Not happy with the ending. That's just how I feel.

  6. I like the ending. There was a twist at the end. I was not suspecting that. I feel bad for the guy who lost a finger though. I also feel bad for luke. I liked luke. He was soo adorable.

  7. The movie was a bit boring but I agree that the ending was unpredictable. The bitch,the slut,or the jock dies abd the nice guys live in ALL horror movies. I give kudos to the writers of this film because I was genuinly shocked and found it very interesting who he chose to keep alive. I don't like predictable endings.

  8. Greatly enjoyable film.
    The cliché of only leaving characters alive who most 'deserve' to live is one of my pet hates... glad this one dared to be different! :)

    1. Fuck you, this wasn't any different. Sometimes, no one survives, not even the ones who deserve to live.

      And sparing those who deserve it is nothing new. They just changed who the real villain was if anything.


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