Panic Fest 2020 Movie Review – ‘The Dare’ is a Mixed Bag

As part of Panic Fest 2020, I had the opportunity to watch Giles Alderson’s (A Serial Killer’s Guide to Life) new horror film, The Dare. The film stars Bart Edwards (The Witcher), Richard Brake (3 From Hell), Richard Short (Mary Kills People), Alexandra Evans (London Fields), Robert Maaser (Sense8), and Harry Jarvis (The Knight Before Christmas).

The Dare

Synopsis for The Dare

A rare family night for Jay takes a brutal twist when he awakens in a basement with three other prisoners. As their vengeful captor runs riot, Jay engages in a twisted battle to solve the puzzle to his past and save his family’s future.

There are two stories happening at the same time during most of The Dare: one is a gruff, abusive father (Brake), disciplining his son (Jarvis). The other follows a group of captives who wake up in the basement of a house, not knowing why they are there. They are then slowly forced to torture each other under the direction of a man in a mask.

the dare

I had two major problems with this movie. The first was that a lot of the movie was so dark. As in Game of Thrones – The Battle of Winterfell dark. There were times I couldn’t see a damn thing. I’m not opposed to movies with dim lighting, but I need to be able to see enough to recognize faces at least. Which brings me to problem two: who are these people in the basement? We don’t find out until way too long into the film. By then I really didn’t care what happened to them, to be honest. I know they were wanting this to be a “Saw” type film, but in Saw, they set everything up, including the character motivation, pretty quickly. I know the writers didn’t want to reveal the “twist,” but they needed to develop these characters more.

the dare

On the positive side, the acting was very strong. Richard Brake was amazing as always, and I was particularly impressed with the acting skill of Harry Jarvis. Their scenes together were very strong and made for the most interesting parts of the entire film.

This film is too much of a mixed bag for me to recommend it.

About Christine Burnham

When not writing, Christine Burnham is watching TV, Horror films, reading, cooking, and spending time with her menagerie of animals.

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