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Film / Truth or Dare (2017)

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Truth or Dare is a 2017 horror film directed by Nick Simon and distributed by Syfy. Thirty years before, eight friends were forced by a malicious being to play a deadly game of Truth or Dare with only one survivor. Now, eight friends from college have come to the same house and history repeats itself. There's a glimmer of hope. They only have to play three rounds of the game, they have managed to get by with technical skirting of the rules, and it's possible to "share the dare" to blunt its impact.

Not to be confused with Truth or Dare (2018), a suspiciously similar film released in 2018 with similar characters and the same plotline, or Truth or Dare?: A Critical Madness, a 1986 horror film that spawned several sequels.

This film exhibits the following tropes:

  • Agony of the Feet: The final two of the seven body parts removed to fulfill Maddie's final dare are Alex's pinky toe and Maddie's entire foot from the ankle
  • An Arm and a Leg: Limb amputation comes up frequently as a dare.
  • Ambiguous Ending and No Ending: The film ends with the last two players, Alex and Maddie, in the car heading to the hospital after Maddie's dare forced her and Alex to remove seven living body parts. At that part, Alex is dared to kill Maddie. Not wanting to live knowing that she killed her friend, she drives her car into a tree. The screen then cuts to black and after a few seconds of silence, Alex and/or Maddie gasp, implying that one or both of them survive (although the subtitles imply that they both did).
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  • Dwindling Party: At least two people die every round and it's implied that the being that runs this game will only accept one survivor.
  • Exact Words: The previous survivor suggests outsmarting the dares by abusing this to share the load. For example, when the dare is to drink poison, the med student figures out a way for the five still in the game to drink a minimal amount and then vomit it up before it can take effect. It works, but the entity seems to get more vindictive when they succeed and makes the subsequent challenges even deadlier. It's also subverted on several occasions, with the entity sending messages to clarify the rules when they try to abuse the ambiguity of the dares. By the end, the entity is actively foiling their attempts by locking doors so the players have to go it alone.
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  • Fingore: One of the dares requires removing seven living body parts. After trying to remove little things like chunks of skin and being told those don't count, they're forced to move up to a pinky finger and a pinky toe, among others.
  • Haunted House: Initially, all of the tropes are present, from doors slamming shut, things mysteriously turning on, weird voices... and then the players manage to leave, and apparently all is well. Until it turns out the evil is still following them. The action still concludes in the house in question.
  • Killer Game-Master: The entity behind the dares not only makes them dangerous if not outright fatal, but will force the dares upon those who refuse, even outright murdering them for not playing along. The dares are also designed to prey upon the weaknesses of the players — fears, secrets, etc. — so they'll be more likely to reject the dares and be killed as punishment.
  • Life or Limb Decision: Several of the dares require someone to perform an action that will result in loss of a limb ranging from a kneecapping to needing to cut off extremities.
  • Police Are Useless: The police refuse to admit that the deaths are anything but accidents or suicides.
  • Russian Roulette: One of the dares is to do three rounds of Russian Roulette. As is usual for the trope, the bullet is present for the third round.
  • Too Dumb to Live:
    • Addison when she gets a truth (which was "Are you an addict?"). Since this wasn't a dare, she more or less gets a free pass on harming herself and others. Rather than just admitting that she was a drug addict, she tries to leave, despite the warnings, and dies as a result.
    • The rest of the group isn't much better. Early in the game, they were told that they have to finish the first round before they can leave the house. As soon as Addison dies for refusing to tell the truth, they immediately leave, forgetting that Carter never took his turn. This cost him dearly when he had to do a dare (hang himself for two minutes) in his dorm room without any support from his friends.
    • Downplayed when they are forced to play Russian Roulette for three pulls of the trigger. Even though the instructions don't specify, they opt not to spin the chamber between each pull, giving them a 50/50 chance of surviving three pulls. Spinning the chamber each time gives better odds of avoiding the bullet, but only slightly. Poor Tyler ends up dying on the third pull, but it's impossible to say for sure if spinning would have saved him.
  • The Tooth Hurts: One of the dares involves removing two teeth with a set of pliers.
  • Unwinnable by Design: The last dare of the film is simply "Kill [Maddie]", making it clear that the evil being has no interest in playing fair with the dares.