Connect with us

Editorials

‘Truth or Dare’: Who Did it Best?

Published

on

There can only be one winner.

For those who don’t know, two horror films titled Truth or Dare were released back-to-back in 2017/2018.

Syfy distributed the 2017 film, directed by Nick Simon, and starred Cassandra Scerbo, Brytni Sarpy, and Mason Dye.

(Some Stranger Things fans will recognize Mason Dye immediately as he played Jason in ST4.)

Whereas Blumhouse produced the 2018 release, which Jeff Wadlow directed, and starred Lucy Hale, Tyler Posey, and Violett Beane.

Advertisement

(Lucy Hale would later go on to star in another Blumhouse film, Fantasy Island, in 2020.)

At their heart, both Truth or Dare films have the same premise: college kids being subjected to a deadly game of truth or dare with a demon. But which film did it better?

To declare a winner, we will examine seven relevant components of the films and award a point to whichever movie excelled in each category. The movie with the most points becomes the ToD champion.

1. The Rules of Truth or Dare

Who followed the rules?

The film distributed by Syfy saw the classic party game being played in written form, as players draw cards that say truth or dare objectives. Additionally, dares are allowed to be “shared” amongst the participants.

Advertisement

Meanwhile, the Blumhouse film played “two truths and a dare” which dictates “dare” be automatically chosen if preceded by two truths in a row.

While both films took certain liberties to make the classic party game fit their cinematic needs, Blumhouse gets the point as truth or dare rarely appears in written form and typically tasks one specific player with answering the question or doing the dare.

Point: Blumhouse

2. Chill Factor

Who made the scariest movie?

The 2017 film directed by Nick Simon saw doors opening mysteriously on their own, nooses materializing from the ceiling, and in one particularly spooky scene, the ghost corpse of a player who lost, delivering the terms of the next dare. The ghost scene worked well and would have been welcome to make more of an appearance in the movie.

Advertisement

Meanwhile, Blumhouse’s horror game involves a demon that smiles a little too wide when it possesses people and a handful of dead bodies. It’s fun to watch, but the 2017 film has more elements of horror.

Point: Syfy

3. Message Delivery

Which demon had a better presentation?

One thing is for certain. The demon of 2017’s Truth or Dare worked tirelessly to present the dares to people. While in the Blumhouse film, messages from the demon can appear in various ways, such as handwritten on a flyer, in the form of street art, or carved into a player’s arm, all these messages are hallucinated by the player. The demon did not scrape “truth or dare” into the side of a car.

Meanwhile, the demon in 2017 pulled out all the stops. Sometimes it would talk through the TV or telephone, The Ring/Samara style. Then at other times, the messages would appear more elaborately, such as: scratched into a record, a hundred note cards falling from the ceiling, and swirled in a bedsheet. One moment saw a collection of sheet music that the demon must’ve painstakingly glued together to write its truth or dare message in blood across the pages.

Advertisement

Despite Syfy’s Truth or Dare demon’s best efforts, hallucinating the messages was a better form of delivery as only the player involved could hear them. Bonus points for the fact that the distorted faces of friends convey the messages.

Point: Blumhouse.

4. The Intensity of the Dares

Which film had more horrific commands?

The demon in Blumhouse’s film has a flair for drama. Most of the truths/dares in the 2018 movie involved divulging secrets between friends and causing rifts in their relationships.

Two of the dares that one of the main characters is subjected to as the film approaches its climax are “Get it on with the guy you have a crush on” and “Tell your best friend a secret” (paraphrasing). Meanwhile, in Syfy’s film, someone is dared to “remove seven living body parts” (not paraphrasing).

Advertisement

It seems like one of these demons is operating from Hell, and the other is operating from high school.

Point: Syfy

5. Playing Smart

Which film saw characters make more informed, intelligent choices?

When it comes to wise decisions, 2017’s Truth or Dare takes the cake. From the opening scene, viewers see that players will utilize a multitude of methods to make the dares survivable. One victim covers herself in baking soda paste after being dared to dump acid on her head, hoping that the baking soda would help neutralize the effects of the acid. Furthermore, both movies have a med student on their team, but only Nick Simon’s film utilizes his medical knowledge.

Meanwhile, in 2018’s film, not only did they get into this mess in the first place by drunkenly following a stranger to an abandoned monastery in the middle of the night, in the middle of nowhere, Mexico, but the execution of the dares was also disappointing.

Advertisement

For example, in one scene, a girl is dared to walk the perimeter of a roof until she has drunk an entire bottle of alcohol. Rather than drinking the bottle all at once to minimize her time on the rooftop, she drinks slowly, giving the alcohol ample time to be absorbed by her system, thus making her drunker and keeping her walking longer.

Lucy Hale’s character starts playing smart right at the end, and Syfy’s characters have moments where they could’ve made better decisions, but all in all, the Syfy players tried to play a more clever game.

Point: Syfy

6. Evil’s Origin

Why did the characters end up in this predicament?

At first glance, 2017’s Truth or Dare appeared to operate under the same pretexts as 1408. “It’s just an evil…” game. But the film takes a turn when the victims meet up with the sole survivor of a game that was played thirty years before. The survivor, played by Heather Langenkamp, explains the origin of truth or dare.

Advertisement

Despite the sheer horror star power provided by the appearance of Langenkamp, the explanation as to how this game of truth or dare happened fell flat. While receiving a Langenkamp cameo is always welcome, the film would’ve been better off by remaining ambiguous about the origin.

Blumhouse’s ToD origin story was more thought out, with the evil having been summoned by a young girl who was bent on using it for defense, but then lost control and had to make a sacrifice to put the evil back in its bottle. When the bottle was destroyed, the evil was unleashed once more.

Point: Blumhouse.

7. How Truth or Dare Ends

Who created a more memorable and shocking ending?

A movie can be either saved or eviscerated in the way it wraps everything up. While the final scenes of the Syfy film are decent, Blumhouse stuck the landing perfectly.

Advertisement

At first, it seemed like this film would follow the route of so many before it, where evil gets put back in the bottle, but at the last minute, it didn’t.

We are treated to the scariest presentation of the demon yet, as the creepy smile on Violett Beane’s face feels eerily reminiscent of Jennifer Carpenter’s face when possessed in The Exorcism of Emily Rose.

Moreover, Lucy Hale’s character made two wise decisions back to back. First by tricking the demon, and second by… well… if you haven’t seen it, I shouldn’t ruin it for you.

It was a brilliant, albeit horribly selfish, move on her part. Well done, Blumhouse.

Point: Blumhouse

Advertisement

The Winner Is…

The points are tallied, and we have our winner. By the narrowest of margins, Blumhouse’s Truth or Dare (2018) wins.

While Syfy’s film was scarier, had smarter characters, and more intense dares, Blumhouse’s movie had a better ending, more iconic delivery, a better origin story, and stayed true to typical Truth or Dare gameplay.

Special recognition for Nick Simon’s film is in order as it is a low-budget TV movie, and it still managed to score close to the film produced by a titan in the horror industry.

A writer by both passion and profession: Tiffany Taylor is a mother of three with a lifelong interest in all things strange or mysterious. Her love for the written word blossomed from her love of horror at a young age because scary stories played an integral role in her childhood. Today, when she isn’t reading, writing, or watching scary movies, Tiffany enjoys cooking, stargazing, and listening to music.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Comments

Editorials

Black Witches Exist.

Published

on

If you ask any Black woman horror fan who their favorite Black witch is, I’d bet all the money I don’t have, that most—if not all—of them would say Rachel True’s Rochelle in The Craft. And what’s not to love about Rochelle? She’s delightfully weird, supportive of her friends, and perseveres in the face of racism much like we do in similar predominately white spaces.

But The Craft is 26 years old. Even though we were blessed with a reboot in 2020, I expected the beloved cult classic to produce more Black Witches to bring into our Coven of Black Girl Magic.

Hell, I don’t even think the two Black actresses that portrayed Angelina Johnson in the Harry Potter movie franchise ever had any lines. And while the Broadway production of Harry Potter and The Cursed Child made history by casting Black actresses to play Hermione, I do take issue with a beloved (and Black-coded) character being depicted as a cruel time-warp-multiverse version. (I’m sorry, but I came here to fight and tell you there is NO universe in which the only character committed to emancipating the magical slaves/house elves would ever turn out to be a cruel professor in her worst subject!)

Even most of the magical Black characters I’ve tried to include in this piece actually practiced Hoodoo or Voodoo.  There’s been a dearth of Black witches on the silver screen and in the horror genre, and it leaves me wanting more. White witches have depth and complexity to them. They can be good or evil, sensual and alluring, motherly, or even cycle through all of the above. Black witches are either nonexistent, relegated to a mammy role to aid a white protagonist, or their witchcraft is conflated with Hoodoo or Voodoo.

Voodoo is actually an organized religion with deep ties to African culture and American slave practices. Hoodoo is considered to be a folk magic that is also connected to the African Diaspora. Hoodoo is more similar to how witchcraft is depicted and is known for spells connected to practical needs, like love and money. Both Hoodoo and Voodoo are incredibly nuanced and highly regarded practices in Black culture, but in less diverse production spaces, depictions of Hoodoo and Voodoo from a colonizer’s gaze can be, well, racist and reductive.

Advertisement

One could argue that Black witches have representation through depictions of Hoodoo and Voodoo on the silver screen, my favorite being the beautiful southern gothic film Eve’s Bayou. But overall, we deserve to see more expansive and nuanced Black Girl Magic on screen.

So here I am wondering, where are all the Black witches?

Continue Reading

Editorials

WELCOME TO THE CHURCH OF CHUCKY: Chucky Season 2 Full Trailer Breakdown, Theories & Predictions

Published

on

Forget the Season of the Witch. It’s the Season of the Dolls again.

I mean it might as well be, September is the new October, which means Halloween is basically tomorrow. And with the arrival of the spooky season comes the second season of SYFY’s instant hit and continuation of the Child’s Play series, Chucky. Since it’s returning on October 5th, this is pretty much all I’m going to be talking about for a few months, so why don’t we speculate on the incoming eight episodes of bombshells Don Mancini will be hitting us with soon?

BLOODY REUNIONS

The teaser trailer that premiered at San Diego Comic Con and the full trailer above that just recently dropped all but confirms this leaked list of episode titles that has been floating around, given they’re laden with religious references we’ll cover soon. The titles give a rough idea of what might happen with the Chucky and Tiffany dolls back on the saddle.

While the episode “Doll on Doll” could be about the myriad of Chucky dolls running around, I wouldn’t be surprised if this was an episode focused on Doll Tiffany going up against Chucky. Since the schism between Team Ray and Team Valentine from season 1’s gnarly decapitation, Tiffany’s plastic iteration would probably find herself in conflict with her old lover after kidnapping Nica and cutting herself out of their deranged master plan to attack all of America.

Advertisement

Temporarily, at least. Given their torrid romantic history and Tiffany’s obsession with starting and preserving a family, it’d be on brand that the episode “Goin’ To The Chapel” may just involve them renewing their vows, with the Bride and groom reuniting to cause terror once more.

SAINTS, SINNERS, AND SILICON

So, what about location then? Well, with all we’ve seen of Jake, Devon, & Lexy’s matching school uniforms, the episode titles, and all the religious décor/symbology all over the place, it’s safe to say the series is finally taking the leap and sending Chucky into outer space.

…Jokes people. I’ll be here all week.

The latest trailer tells us the school is called Incarnate Lord (Academy?) and seems to be a Catholic boarding school for reforming disturbed youth. This is likely an homage to Childs Play 3 but riffing on the humor of private schools rather than military academies. Mancini may have been inspired to use this location because he also went to a Christian prep school when he was younger, a lesser-known detail mentioned in an interview with Dread Central.

With legal custody of Jake & Devon up in the air following their respective parents perishing, and their dubious involvement in dozens of people dying a year prior, it looks like the trio is being sent to an institution by the state– possibly at the behest of Mayor Cross, Lexi’s mother, instead of seeing the kids jailed. Given the chaos caused by Chucky in the season finale, it’s fair that she’d send the boys and her distraught daughter to a boarding school for their protection, hoping to distance them from the massacre. On the topic of troubled daughters…

Advertisement

PUTTING LEXY THROUGH THE RINGER

Maybe stating the obvious here, but Lexy is going through it this season, even more so than last. One of the shots in the teaser trailer heavily implies she’s doing drugs to cope with the stress and trauma of Chucky’s massacre. But I think there might be even more reason she’s down and out.

We saw younger sister Caroline opening the door for Chucky in the teaser, so I wouldn’t be surprised if Chucky’s first act of retribution against the Hackensack gang would be taking her out, or at least attempting to. It would also make sense to get them out of town as an inciting incident if the one-year time skip they mention means something has to break the relative peace in Hackensack.

For anybody skeptical about this, given it’s a very dark train of thought, remember that one of the series protagonists, Nica Pierce, had all her limbs cut off in the Season 1 finale and is currently being wheeled around by Tiffany. A tonal shift seems like just the thing Mancini might have hinted at with Nica’s cruel entrapment.

…Bummer. How about a joke to lighten the mood?

HOW DO NONBINARY SLASHERS OFF SOMEONE?

They/Them! And the they & them slashing in question would be the doll in two persons, Glen & Glenda, who is back after a long absence in the series (and seems delighted at the updates in their mother’s love-life/murder sprees). Hopefully, I will finally get a serious answer to my question of whether G&G have an explosives dealer! It seems doubly likely now that we see Chucky using a (stolen?) chemical explosive in the final shots of the full trailer…

Advertisement

Portrayed in a double role by Lachlan Watson, former Chilling Adventures of Sabrina star, these two are more likely than not going to be blending into the school as delinquents and aiding one or more of the Chucky dolls in their rampage. But I think that one of the two could also be a new protagonist in the making.

Though the plot point fell by the wayside for doll martial arts in Seed of Chucky, it was clear that a part of Glen/da has a distaste for killing. I wouldn’t be surprised if the two halves of Glen/da ended up feuding and making enemies out of each other. One of the big themes of Chucky as a rare coming-of-age horror is that you’ve sometimes got to reject the roles placed onto you by your parents, so it’d track if Tiffany’s twin terrors end up against themselves.

Suppose one half doesn’t become wholly good, however. In that case, there’s the distinct possibility they might end up taking sides with their respective favored parents and getting dragged into a messy “divorce” and the couple’s endless doll wars. Speaking of people who got dragged into that war,

REST IN PEACE, KYLE…

But not really. At least, I don’t think so. Even though Andy screams “This is for Kyle!” while presumably facing off with an unseen Tiffany or Chucky in the trailer, she seemingly survived the bomb blast from “An Affair to Dismember” and was hinted to be watching over the kids, the final shot of the first season being her hand gripping a tree with the black leather gloves gifted to her by Andy at the gas station.

Of course, nothing is ever that easy. With Christine Elise confirmed to be back for an unspecified number of episodes, I wouldn’t be surprised if Kyle is another dormant victim of possession like Nica, and that Tiffany may have done another soul split bamboozle. Not only would it give Tiffany a leg up against Andy & Chucky, but it would also mean that the kids would have to deal with their former protector turning heel.

Advertisement

Regardless of how many of these darts land on the bullseye, I’m unflinchingly hyped for Season 2 of Chucky. Until then, I ask the question: do you have any pet theories you’ve been sitting on? Tell us on Twitter & comment down below, and as always, stay tuned for more horrifying content from Horror Press.

Chucky season 2 will premiere on USA and Syfy on October 5th.

Continue Reading

Horror Press Mailing List

Advertisement
Advertisement