DVD review: Truth Or Dare (15), (91 mins), new on DVD from Blockbuster.

It’s brutal, but in many ways it is brilliant – a horrible and horribly-good thriller which just isn’t over until it’s over.

At an end-of-year party, a group of students, male and female, nastily humiliate – with varying degrees of culpability – the nerdy Felix (Tom Kane).

Some months later it’s still with scorn in their minds that they travel to a party he is throwing.

But soon it all starts to go horribly wrong.

No, the party isn’t in the glorious country mansion that Felix’s mega-rich parents own. A sinister old retainer directs them to an isolated shack in the woods.

And when they get there, it’s not Felix, but his brother Justin (David Oakes) who opens the door with an urbane welcome which masks the cruellest of intentions.

It seems that Felix hanged himself after the party in this very shack; and Justin is determined to find out exactly what happened to tip him over the edge. He does so by making the party-goers play once again the “truth or dare” game with which they crushed poor Felix.

Quite literally, he gives a couple of them the acid test – and you can’t help wondering how on earth this film got away with its 15 certificate. There are moments you really, really don’t want to see. Surely this film has got 18 written all over it.

But the saving grace is that this isn’t some mindless slasher movie.

The strength of the film is in the intelligence of its writing and in the cleverness of its interplay. Among the trapped students is the shameless Eleanor (Jennie Jacques), their only realistic hope of turning the tables back in their favour.

The cat-and-mouse element is tensely done as power starts to ebb and flow.

There’s no doubting this is a thoroughly-nasty film. But the performances, the script and the twists and turns make it a strikingly-superior film too.

Phil Hewitt

Rental courtesy of Blockbuster. For details of other new releases, see www.blockbuster.co.uk.