Writer's Block--Truth Or Dare II: Playing For Keeps

  • 1996
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Horror

Unrelated to the previous TRUTH OR DARE horror title, this is a surprisingly well-crafted and unnerving shot-on-video shocker. On the heels of having written a best-selling horror novel, author Jack Grady (Joey Michitsch) moves into a new house with his wife, Melissa (Candace Rose). His editor, Gail Sinclair (Robyn Allen), is anxious for him to produce...read more

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Unrelated to the previous TRUTH OR DARE horror title, this is a surprisingly well-crafted and unnerving shot-on-video shocker.

On the heels of having written a best-selling horror novel, author Jack Grady (Joey Michitsch) moves into a new house with his wife, Melissa (Candace Rose). His editor, Gail Sinclair (Robyn Allen), is anxious for him to produce a follow-up, but he's strapped for ideas--until he discovers, behind

one of the walls, a diary chronicling the murderous activities of Elliot Weaver. Deciding to have the diary published as his own fictional work, Jack winds up with another best-seller. Little does he know that Elliot (Jeffrey C. Hawkins) is still on the loose and still homicidal, killing one of

Jack's fans after a book signing.

Elliot then murders Jack's friend Leslie (Delaina Mitchell), vandalizes Jack's home, and sends Melissa evidence that the book was plagiarized. After killing Gail, Elliot kidnaps Melissa and forces Jack to admit his theft at an awards show. Jack then rushes home, where he triggers Elliot's trap,

killing Melissa. Confronting the maniac, Jack struggles with and kills him--but is then arrested and jailed, having been set up by Elliot to appear responsible for the other murders.

WRITER'S BLOCK begins unpromisingly, with a cliched teens-meet-psycho-in-the-woods scene, but pulls an entertaining twist when it turns out that this is a scene from the film version of Jack's first novel. The rest of the movie largely abandons this approach and proceeds as a straightforward

psycho-chiller with an imaginative and well-developed story line. Jack makes for a strong and sympathetic protagonist as his one lapse in judgment spirals into an escalating nightmare. Elliot is an equally compelling character, a madman who takes so much pride in his murderous work that he can't

stand to see it appropriated by someone else, even as fiction.

Elliot's revenge plot proceeds in a manner that's scarily logical, especially by the standards of direct-to-video slasher movies, and first-time director Chris LaMont demonstrates a sure hand at building and sustaining tension. He also allows the story to play out to its inevitable, grim

conclusion, resisting the urge to throw in a happy ending or a "he's not really dead" conclusion to give viewers one final chill. This is one direct-to-video project that transcends its low-budget, shot-on-tape look, serving notice that LaMont is a director to watch closely.(Graphic violence,sexual situations, extreme profanity.)

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  • Released: 1996
  • Rating: NR
  • Review: Unrelated to the previous TRUTH OR DARE horror title, this is a surprisingly well-crafted and unnerving shot-on-video shocker. On the heels of having written a best-selling horror novel, author Jack Grady (Joey Michitsch) moves into a new house with his w… (more)

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