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Truth or Die – 6

Director – Robert Heath

Cast – Liam Boyle, Jack Gordon, Jennie Jacques, Tom Kane, Florence Hall, Jason Maza, David Oakes, David Sterne, Alexander Vlahos

Release Year – 2012

Reviewed by John of the Dead

Presented by Bloody-Disgusting, Truth or Die is a simple and low-budget tale of brutal revenge that I found a good amount of joy in despite a few faults. Months after a game of Truth or Dare goes horribly wrong and the introverted Felix is left crying and ridiculed, he invites the perpetrators, his only “friends”, to his birthday bash on the isolated property his family owns. Soon after arriving the guests realize that the “party” is not quite the party they expected, but a vengeful event where the game Truth or Dare will be transformed into Truth or Die.

Matthew McGuchan starts things off well in his first full-length effort, with the opening sequence setting the stage for the vengeful acts that would later grace the screen. It does not take long for the first act to move and get the party guests to Felix’s home, where they are told that the party will not actually be at the large regal home but at it’s isolated guest cabin down a muddy road that cannot be traveled by car. When they arrive at the cabin they are not greeted by Felix but Felix’s brother, who convinces them that they should still party and have a good time despite Felix’s absence. All is well and the friends are having a good time with Felix’s brother, a veteran of several tours in Afghanistan, but when he informs them of the real reason they were invited they realize they made a big mistake. It turns out that Felix isn’t just absent – he’s dead. Felix hung himself after receiving a postcard taunting him about what happened at the party months prior, and his big brother is determined to get to the bottom of who was behind his brother’s death…and at any cost. He subjects the partygoers to a cruel game of Truth or Dare, where they are eliminated one by one as he slowly begins to unravel the truth behind his brother’s death. I really enjoyed this vengeful storyline and found that provided a good amount of the elements I like to see in horror films. It came with good tension, some harsh kills, and a heavy vengeance element that only left me wishing there was more of it.

While the flick had plenty of the good elements horror can offer it also suffered a few faults, with the bulk of them coming via pacing issues. The flick did slow down quite a bit during the second act and I felt like certain scenes dragged too much. Sometimes this happens when a storyline is set on one hard location, and thankfully things picked up during the third act when the flick finally started to move locations. Another fault is that all of the protagonist characters that we are “supposed” to like were all very unlikable and did not lead me to care about what happened to them. In fact, I wanted all of the protagonist characters to die violent deaths because they were each annoying in their own way. In a sense this was a good thing because it made some of their deaths more enjoyable, but as the end result would show I really wish the film had ended differently and not given us such a lame climax that left some of the earlier brutality undone.

Director Robert Heath did well for this being his first full-length horror film and made a lot happen with a small budget. His atmosphere is great and the sets used bring out each location and envelop the viewer into the scene, and he gives us a full-frontal view of the terror the partygoers must go through for their transgressions against Felix. Heath’s execution of the horror was good and he brought much tension to the screen, starting from the initial revelation of why the friends were invited to the party all the way to the a truly heartbreaking kill that will leave you glued to the screen. There is not a whole lot of gore in the film but we do get a few shots of live-action FX and plenty of blood during a death via battery acid scene. If there was anything I did not like about his direction it was the way he portrayed his protagonists. As I said earlier, I did not like how the protagonists were written to be so unlikable and Heath did little to break from that and added to their unlikability level. This then transferred to their acting performances and the next thing you know you have a screen full of people you hate who are not dying quick enough, making for a bittersweet experience in the end.

Overall, Truth or Die is an alright watch that gives good horror at times but does not come without its faults. I enjoyed the vengeance theme and the story provided the goods for the most part, but poor pacing and unlikable characters left this a film that I will only watch once.

Rating: 6/10

…Additional Stills…

This is the dork who killed himself.

Now entering Wayne Manor…

Guy thinks he’s Dirty Harry.

How I serve moonshine at my parties.

This guy definitely needs a napkin.

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