Of all the movies for Blumhouse to put their name on. Whether as a marketing tool or a way to distinguish its film from others with the same title, the production company that brought us the great Get Out and the very good Happy Death Day just last year, is flaunting ownership of one of their worst movies. Blumhouse’s Truth or Dare is an excruciatingly bland, scare-and-fun-free exercise that has difficulty conveying even the simplest ideas of its serviceable high concept.
Any movie that opens with the great Brad Dourif telling a creepy folktale is bound to grab your attention. Fritz Böhm’s Wildling certainly does; it just can’t keep it. The concept of the fable – and the film – are intriguing. Despite some seriously bizarre developments and gory violence, this narrative is flat, and technical deficiencies make it difficult to engage with to any extent. Dourif’s story is well-told; Wildling isn’t.
Simple concepts well-executed make for potent horror films. Whether it’s an escaped maniac returning to his hometown on Halloween night or people trapped in an atmospheric confined space a la 2016’s Don’t Breathe, straightforwardness often heightens suspense.
A Quiet Place is scary and engrossing largely because of its minimalism, but it’s not slight. The lean 90 minutes is dense, with director John Krasinski establishing a distinct mood and sense of place. The terrifying sensory experience promised by the high concept is delivered, as are relatable familial bonds and friction.