R13: Violence, horror, sex scenes, offensive language and content that may disturb
This page outlines how the classification criteria were applied. We do our best to discuss the content while avoiding spoilers, but please avoid reading this information if you do not want to learn anything about the content of this movie.
Truth or Dare was classified M in Australia and therefore was cross-rated M in New Zealand. The United Kingdom classified Truth or Dare as a restricted 15 rating, with strong threats and violence on the advisory note.
We were alerted by the Film and Video Labelling Body about the film, who noted concerns that the film may be inappropriate for all viewers, so the Office called it in to view and classify the movie before its release.
Following examination by the Classification Office, the original rating was changed from an M to an R13 for ‘Violence, horror and content that may disturb.’
Date registered: 27/04/2018
What happens when you stop playing the game, and it begins to play you?
After a harmless game of Truth or Dare in Mexico among friends, things take a deadly turn for the worst when the players are punished for not telling the truth or refusing to complete a dare. Slowly, each player is manipulated into revealing truths they never would have revealed, or completing dares they would never have imagined doing.
Truth or Dare has extensive horror elements throughout the movie, as it sits within the horror genre. The Mexican demon possesses characters, morphing and stretching their faces when possessed. If the players refuse to tell the truth, or do not successfully complete their dare, the demon kills them off. Many of the typical horror tropes are used: a grimy aesthetic, an ominous soundtrack and the suspense of who will die next – and how?
By the conclusion of the film, most of the original players are killed off. There are brief scenes of violence where the demon has forced the players to kill or be killed. Ronnie, the first player to die, falls off a pool table and breaks his neck when he refuses to complete his dare. Markie had told Olivia “touch me again and I’ll break your hand,” and the demon makes her keep her promise – Markie smashes Olivia’s hand with a hammer. Tyson refuses to tell his interviewer the truth about his illegal prescription dealings, and consequently kills himself by stabbing a pen in his eye, and smashing his head against a wall. The violence, however, is not particularly gruesome or gory, and is presented in a more conceptually harrowing way.
One of the characters is a typical ‘lad’, constantly making sexual references – it seems that he only has one thing on his mind. He asks for a “ménage à trois” with Olivia, and upon being refused, a “ménage à deux.” He stipulates for some “girl on girl action”, and refers to his “package”, making it clear that he is “referring to [his] penis” and that he “wants to have sex.”
There is an underlying narrative of sexual violence that does not come to fruition until the end of the movie. Olivia reveals her darkest secret as part of the game, implicitly telling Markie that her dad had tried to rape or sexually assault her. Olivia told him he’d be “better off dead”, after which he committed suicide. Markie’s reaction embodies the notion of victim blaming, as she storms off, seemingly mad at Olivia. There is no further mention of this in the film.
The film is classified R13. The unrestricted availability of the movie is likely to be injurious to the public good, mainly because of its treatment of horror, violence and themes surrounding sexual violence and sexual references. The concept of killing is violent, and is likely to shock and frighten children. The material that deals with demonic-driven suicide requires a level of maturity to process. Teenagers and adults are able to view and understand the film’s content in the context of a horror film, and may find it thrilling and suspenseful.
Contact the Information Unit if you require further information on a classification decision.