It’s rare for slasher and torture porn type flicks to really get to me. I’ve seen it all, and having a background in the film industry and practical effects, it’s easy for me to disassociate from the violence and gore I see in front of me. I also have always felt at a certain point torture porn can go too far, be too much, and that makes it just as unbelievable and in a way almost silly. THE DARE proved me wrong.
The horror factor of THE DARE kicks in less than five minutes into the film. Everything goes from a happy family to psycho killer in a moment. The tension and terror don’t let up from there. In the style of a classic like SAW, The Dare traps our four main protagonists in a room together and leaves them with the mental trauma of waiting for the next session of pain and punishment from their captor. The most horrific part of all of this is that the captor they’re all so afraid of isn’t the one performing the torture – he makes them hurt each other. Everything from force-feeding each other to the most horrendous physical harms you can imagine… absolutely nothing is hidden and everything provides a sickening visual and auditory experience for the viewer.
The crux of this story is one we all can identify with – children’s games, bullies, and how the circle keeps spinning around – taken to deep and dark ends. These 4 people stuck in this torture chamber are connected to each other, and to their captor, and in unlocking that secret they may just be able to save themselves.
Phenomenal ensemble cast work and deep introspective performances drive THE DARE. Without the driving force of Credence (Richard Brake) and his deeply menacing villainous performance, this film could easily become too difficult and unfathomable to watch. Nuance and subtlety pepper the over the top gore to create a psychological thrill so often neglected in modern slasher films. The remarkable casting of our leads and Credence as young people beautifully sells the intricate timeline hopping present in this story. This is a film that could easily fail and it seems every precaution was taken to prevent that – and trust me, it bloody works.
Sound design and visual effects combine beautifully with practical effects to drive home the visceral horror of THE DARE. Both makeup and makeup effects had sizeable crews working on this set, and it just goes to show that it pays to put an incredible team to work on something as crucial to the story as these effects. Grimy, gritty, blood-soaked horror hits you every second.
Plenty of hidden homages to other horror and slasher greats are hidden in THE DARE– pay close attention to names, carefully read everything shown on screen, and you won’t miss anything. While it could easily be “overdone” there is an immense amount of subtlety to the love given to other films hidden within this film, and that’s a delicate trick that I greatly admire.
THE DARE brings the consequences of childhood games into harsh, disgusting reality. Be careful what you play and who you play with – you never know what could haunt you for the rest of your life.
THE DARE is now available for pre-order on iTunes! The film, which was produced by Millennium Media and is being distributed by The Horror Collective, will be released on March 3rd, 2020 on VOD and digital platforms. It will also have a limited, one-night release in theaters on March 6th, 2020.
|Runtime:||1 hr 37Mins.|
Giles Alderson, Jonny Grant