What begins as a stalkery home invasion nightmare quickly shifts gears into a morality play within a mystery in The Dare.
With themes and a premise similar to Saw and near-Hostel levels of extreme violence, a family man is abducted and awakens in a dirty room, chained to the wall with three other people chained to the other three corners.
Meanwhile, intercut with the prisoners in the room, Richard Brake (31, Halloween II, 3 From Hell) channels a slightly nicer, calmer version of his Doom-Head character from 31, as “The Farmer”, raising a young boy from the local trailer park, telling the boy that his parents never loved him or they would have come for him by now.
Bart Edwards (Netflix’s The Witcher) is Jay, the family man just trying to get out of this hell he’s trapped in and get back to his wife and daughters.
I didn’t quite buy how long it took for Jay and the others to figure out why they were specifically chosen, but the payoff is justified and again flips what we thought we were watching, asking viewers to question their character allegiances.
The muscular masked killer, played by Robert Maaser, is on a mission of vengeance, and his methods are cringe-inducingly brutal but also symbolic and specifically thought out to match what each victim has done to deserve their punishment. And there is no shortage of blood throughout, including a literal fire hose blasting it out at times.
Richard Short and Alexandra Evans round out the small cast as the other victims forced along with Jay to essentially torture each other at the psychopath’s instructions.
I won’t spoil the big reveal, but it will no doubt come as little surprise to seasoned horror fans, though it’s effective nonetheless.
The film is directed by Giles Alderson (Hollywood Hostel, The Girl Whisperer), who co-wrote the script with Jonny Grant (Arthur & Merlin: Knights of Camelot), and I look forward to seeing what he does next and following what I am sure will be an exciting career ahead.
The film will leave you wanting more, primed for a sequel, in this origin story of a killer who is maybe even destined for genre icon status.
The Dare is available to stream now on Amazon Prime Video, from The Horror Collective.
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