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Review: Truth or Dare

I’ve been told that this film has been titled Truth of Die for the US release. This is a low-budget independent British film and at first I thought I was going to hate it as I took a dislike to almost all of the characters but as the film went on and more got revealed I felt more drawn into the story and I was never sure quite where the story was going to go.

Five college students go to a large sprawling country estate for the birthday party of Felix (Tom Kane), a nervous unpopular nerdy boy that they know from college. A year before they had all been to party where they had played a game of Truth or Dare that went wrong leaving Felix feeling humiliated. Felix was very nervous at the party and Luke (Alexander Vlahos) the drug dealer gives him a couple of lines of coke. With his confidence chemically boosted Felix talks to Gemma (Florence Hall), a woman he likes and although she doesn’t agree to go out with him it’s a pleasant enough conversation and anyway she’s dating the more aggressive Chris (Jack Gordon). Then Eleanor (Jennie Jacques) comes downstairs angry about her boyfriend Paul (Liam Boyle) passing out on her. She has an empty bottle wants to play Truth or Dare. I think it’s on the second spin it picks Felix who gets asked to choose anyone male or female that he’d choose to sleep with. He chooses Gemma knowing she already knows how he feels but Chris takes offence to this and punches Felix ending the party game on a downer.

They get to Felix’s house and its a massive country house and it clear the Felix comes from serious money. The ground-keeper Woodbridge (David Oakes) tells them the party is being held in cottage half a mile along a trail that’s too rough for their cars. At the cottage they are greeted by Justin (David Oakes) Felix’s older brother. He tells them the party was called off because Felix is abroad in Chile.  Of course it turns out that Felix’s birthday party is a trick and Felix isn’t there but his violent unstable older brother Justin wants pay back for the way his brother was treated and he wants to play his own version of Truth or Dare with them. It all starts off innocent enough but soon the dares become fatal and for some the truth hurts even more

At first I thought that this film was going down the well-worn path of the vengeance horror but it delivered a bit more depth than that and the question of responsibility comes into sharp focus. I did really dislike a few of the characters but this is because the actors were doing a good job playing these unpleasant characters. There are scenes of torture in this but there’s more psychology involved than physical pain (think Guantanamo Bay more than Saw) and it doesn’t have too much gore. Overall it’s an interesting film that’s worth the watch.

Rating 6.5/10

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Posted by on September 3, 2012 in Entertainment, Film

 

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Review: The Woman

I have heard some praise for this film but I really thought it was going to be just another torture and revenge film, especially as others had emphasised the brutality of the violence so I avoided it. This is not that brutal a film but then maybe I’m not the best one to judge this given how violent a lot of film I watch are. I don’t really know what to make of the film myself as it seems to be more like an argument than a film and I’m sure it’s an argument that I disagree with.

A Civilised Man (Sean Bridgers) spots a Wild Woman (Pollyanna McIntosh) in the woods near his home while he is out hunting. He captures the Woman and secures her in his cellar with cables and he tells his family that they are all going to help him in his attempt to civilise her. His Wife (Angela Bettis) cooperates and as does his Son (Zach Rand) but his eldest Daughter (Lauren Ashley Carter) is horrified and cooperates only out fear of punishment from her father. The youngest daughter the Child merely accepts this world is as her parents say it is.

The different members of the family react in different ways to the presence of the Woman. To the Man she is something to be tamed and owned and used as he wills. The Son is also drawn to her to satisfy his sick sadistic pleasures and ease his bruised masculine ego. The Wife sees the strength and ferocity of the Woman and fears it. The daughter comes to understand that she is in bondage like the Woman. Only the Child treats the Woman like any other person, talking to her and playing her music. Everything in this pressure cooker of a family is to ready erupt.

A literal interpretation of this film is to be very unsatisfying as the characters are really such unrealistic grotesques. I’m really wandering into very uncertain territory trying to talk about any symbolic interpretation. The most obvious symbolism others have jumped one is that of gender politics but I have my doubts about that one, going by how crude and obviously over-the-top that would be. I wonder there is some Nature vs Man symbolism being used but I’m swimming out of my depth here. The acting is pretty good with a lot of the communication going on with glances and postures while civilised words are being spoken. This film was not what I expected and I will have to come back to it. It’s not one I can recommend to anyone looking for horror experience or action and if you are after anything like Saw or Hostel forget it.

Rating 6/10

 
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Posted by on February 4, 2012 in Entertainment, Film

 

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