Truth or Die is a movie that is extremely English insofar as the characters all have very stiff upper lips and, like an afternoon tea, there’s nothing in it to particularly discomfit or terrify you.
Which is unfortunate, because it’s supposed to be a horror film.
There are some interesting bits in it, including a fairly horrible death scene, but for the most part it’s pedestrian, boring, and not worth your time. It suffers from the problem plaguing many horror films: bad things happening to unlikable people, so it’s hard to care about any of it.
- The Bad Guy: I’m one of those people who almost always roots for the bad guy in movies. Pleasantly, the best thing about Truth or Die was David Oakes’s portrayal of antagonist Justin, a psychopathic military veteran. Creepy, physically strong without being infallible, he managed to bring both menace and a tiny bit of humanity into the role. You want him to see his work done, you want him to win, but unfortunately, that didn’t happen, which was disappointing. Someone like him shouldn’t have been vanquished the way he was, but the movie had to have a happy ending, of sorts. A shame, really.
- Whodunit: That was a bit of a surprise, which made it enjoyable. The problem was that the rationale for sending the postcard, while plausible, seemed very last minute. The character gave no indication of feeling that way earlier in the film, which made it too sudden, too sloppy.
- Stiff Upper Lips: Paul, Chris, Gemma, and Eleanor were all quite tough. Paul’s gunshot wound didn’t seem to pain him as much as being kneecapped might a normal person, and the defiance all four seemed willing to give to Justin would have been admirable if it wasn’t so unbelievable. None of them panicked. They all found incredible steel inside of them when it was needed. I didn’t buy it.
- Femme Fatale: Eleanor proved to be at least as psychotic as Justin and twice as tough, which didn’t make sense outside of a writer or producer’s requirement to have a super-strong female character. Didn’t like her, didn’t find her sexy, didn’t find her interesting, didn’t find her believable.
- The End: The rationale behind Felix hanging himself was way too complicated. Did they really need that much backstory, with corporate intrigue, blackmail, gay sex, and a bizarre family code of honor to uphold? Especially when it’s all just spat out at the last five minutes?
Truth or Die gets two stars out of five.