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The Wild IRL Sequel to Blumhouse's Truth or Dare That We Almost Got

Just a few years ago, Truth or Dare almost went meta in a big way.

By Matthew Jackson
A smiling monster approaches Olivia Barron (Lucy Hale) in Truth or Dare (2018).

Horror sequels come in all kinds of ways, from the return of a vicious killer to the story of a whole new set of characters dealing with the same old evil to, of course, the continuing adventures of a core group of horror heroes. The trick, of course, is to keep the story going while retaining something of what made the original film successful to begin with, and that's what the creators of the 2018 hit Truth or Dare did... well, almost.

Produced by Blumhouse and released by Universal PicturesTruth or Dare (now available from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment) revolves around a group of friends who play the title party game, only to find that they've attracted a demon who's called into action by the very act of playing. The easily graspable concept, coupled with a cast led by young stars like Tyler Posey and Lucy Hale, meant that the film turned into a very solid box office success, earning almost $100 million worldwide while it was made for well under $5 million. 

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How Truth or Dare Almost Got a Sequel

So, Blumhouse and director Jeff Wadlow had a hit on their hands, and as a bonus, the film's cast had all become friends during production. That means a sequel is an easy proposition, right? Well, sure, once you get past the hurdle of nearly every major character dying in the first movie. Speaking to Variety about the film, Wadlow explained that the cast had actually come up with the idea to create a meta-sequel in which they, while on vacation together in Big Bear National Park, would unwittingly summon the real demon after battling the fictional one in the first movie. 

“They had become great friends and were going on trips together, hanging out in Big Bear,” he said. “They had this idea: ‘Wouldn’t it be funny if Truth or Dare happened to us while we were on vacation together, the actors?’ The joke became that the sequel should be called ‘Truth or Big Bear.’ I thought that was kind of a brilliant idea.”

According to Posey, he was the driving force behind the original concept, and was so excited by the metafictional conceit, which carries notes of Wes Craven's New Nightmare, that he ended up pitching it to Wadlow. 

"I’ve been writing since I was a kid and directing and filming stuff with my friends, so I always kind of try to find the best creative route that we could turn into something," Posey explained. "So I started thinking, ‘Well, what’s a cool way we could all be in Part 2 and still make it work?’ And we were on our way in the truck and I remember coming up with the idea of, ‘What if it’s about us? We’re at the premiere of the original movie and we’re playing ourselves.’ And then we all go on a trip to Big Bear, and while we’re there, some crazy shit happens. So they were like ‘F*** yeah, that’s so fun.’ But I don’t know if anybody took it seriously, but the whole trip and Big Bear, I was like, ‘Oh God, I gotta define this idea, this concept — refine it and then pitch it to Jeff.”

Why Truth or Dare IRL Didn't Happen

A smiling monster appears in Truth or Dare (2018).

Wadlow liked the idea so much that he organized writing sessions and ultimately delivered Truth or Dare IRL, a film that would have revealed that the adversary from the original, the demon Calux, was based on a real demon who was now vengeful after having been invoked in a work of fiction. The full cast would return, all playing themselves, and the film would open on the set of Truth or Dare as the final scene was filmed. Wadlow took the concept to Blumhouse head Jason Blum, who loved the concept, and even pitched bringing the entire cast together during the COVID pandemic to bubble in a hotel with a crew, and shoot the film in a single cabin set on the Universal lot. Wadlow began prepping the movie, but logistical and financial concerns ultimately trumped enthusiasm.

"But I think they started to realize that the health and safety risks involved at that moment, and also the cost implications of basically not letting people leave, would mean everyone was on overtime for the entire shoot, and they pulled the plug on it," Wadlow said.

So, now that film production is back to a relative state of normal, could Truth or Dare IRL still happen? Unfortunately, Wadlow says no.

“Too much time has passed,” he said. “But I think that would have been a lot of fun to make and the audience would have dug it.”

Truth or Dare is now available from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.

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