Like CRUEL INTENTIONS (1999), NEW BEST FRIEND (2002), THE IN CROWD (2000) and other thrillers involving lethal peer pressure, 21st-century high school and college students are twisted thrill-seekers more comfortable with drug dealers than real friends. At Elizabeth's (January Jones) instigation, six classmates celebrate graduation by playing truth-or-dare. Christian (Nick Stahl), Adam (Eddie Kaye Thomas), Kate (Lori Heuring), Benjamin (Derek Hamilton) and Piper (Amber Benson) answer a series of yes or no questions read from index cards, starting with "Would you sleep with a minor?" Other queries involve incest, prostitution, homosexuality, three-way encounters and seducing a best friend's lover. Whoever drew up the cards must had an intimate knowledge of the partygoers' deepest secrets; naturally, each sinner gets matched up with the taboo he or she has broken. A year passes, and by the time they reunite at Christian's mansion to welcome in the New Year, someone has been blackmailing them. There's no love lost between Adam and wealthy Christian, who stole Elizabeth away from Adam. Piper has become an alcoholic because Christian dumped her for Elizabeth. But their follies pale next to the misdeeds of Christian's father, who impregnated a prostitute and fathered a child, setting the stage for the vengeance that's being visited on the younger generation. Someone starts picking off the jaded partygoers or so it seems? With a nod to AND THEN THERE WERE NONE (1945), Christian and Elizabeth discover that these homicides started as mean-spirited revenge against the blackmailer. In addition to confronting his friends' checkered pasts, Christian is covering up a mystery that binds him to Elizabeth. And as is always the case in claustrophobic thrillers, no secret remains unrevealed for long. Though the film's atmosphere rests on dark psychological disturbances, the dewy cast members don't have the chops to suggest their characters' hidden depths. The overall effect is of being at a teen slumber party that's been crashed by some fellows trying to scare the girls with ghost stories.
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- Released: 2001
- Rating: R
- Review: Like CRUEL INTENTIONS (1999), NEW BEST FRIEND (2002), THE IN CROWD (2000) and other thrillers involving lethal peer pressure, 21st-century high school and college students are twisted thrill-seekers more comfortable with drug dealers than real friends. At… (more)