Reality programing has become the standard of believability on TV. What we see, we perceive as the truth, even though we know it’s all scripted. We do know that, right? Most people actually assume that Reality TV and that is a scary thing all its own. What happens when the entertainment is extreme and perceived as real. What are the dangers there? This frighteningly real possibility is the springboard for actress Jessica Cameron’s first foray into directing, the tense thriller, Truth or Dare…
In the opening minutes, we are introduced to the Truth or Dare-Devils, Jennifer (Jessica Cameron), Ray (Shelby Stehlin), Courtney (Devanny Pinn), Michelle (Heather Dorff ), Tony (Brandon Van Vliet ), and John (Jesse Wilson ). The team that brings the horror to reality based YouTube shows, all in good fun, of course. While on a talk show, the group is questioned by an enthusiastic fan about their lack of responses to emails he’s sent. He is brushed off with little care. This group is clearly basking in their 15 minutes, but does that make them bad people?
They return to John’s house, which is out in the sticks, only to find that they’re not alone. They have been followed by one of their fans, their BIGGEST fan, Derik, who is hell bent on not only joining the team, but bringing more realism to the group. Realism that will kill ya!
Jessica Cameron’s first outing as director is fast-paced and tight. Though the torture is excruciating, it’s the truths of who these people are as individuals that really turns the stomach. The script, co-written with Jonathan Scott Higgins, focuses on horrifying its audience in a different way, with the truth, not the dare. The film crosses lines that will upset many, not with its gore, but with the confessions that come out over the course of the night.
The performances are good all around, with the stand out being Ryan Kiser as Derik. Crazy is hard to play, and he does a good job with not making it too over the top. There is some humor at the onset, but that is quickly dialed out. The decision in attacking the audience from a moralistic angle rather than a visceral one pays off. We’ve seen it all before, so shocking someone with a kill is difficult. What is left is our sense of right and wrong, and that is where this film does its damage.
In the end, the film is a solid indie debut for Cameron. The film is tight, and unrelenting once it gets going, and it does so very quickly. Currently on a festival run, I recommend catching it. In fact, I dare you.