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Dare, The  (DVD)


Stars: Bart Edwards, Alexandra Evans, Richard Short, Mitchell Norman, Robert Maaser, Richard Brake, Devora Wilde

Director: Giles Alderson

Saw meets The Hunt, in this graphically grisly horror flick set in America, but shot in Bulgaria with little-known English, Welsh and Bulgarian actors doing American accents. Gorehounds will lap it up, while those of more eclectic tastes will flinch at the extremities and find a few things to criticise.

Action starts in an unnamed town, where Jay (Edwards) is about to say goodbye to his wife (Wilde) and two daughters and go off to a conference when he is attacked by a hooded assailant and wakens to find himself chained to one corner of a large basement room with three other people, who at first he thinks he does not know, with one of them naked and near death. All three have been systematically tortured by a masked man. The same fate now awaits Jay...

SPOILERS AHEAD: The film then flashes back to four young teenagers daring a 'loner' newcomer to go into a supposedly sinister and sprawling farmhouse in order to join their gang...and to a young boy (Maaser) brought up by a sadistic farmer (Brake).

Cue lots more messy torture scenes and failed attempts to escape as the action returns to our imprisoned quartet.

The scenario calls less for acting talent than the ability to scream as if in utmost agony, while the plot hardly bears scrutiny. Could our psycho anti-hero really drag four people off to his lair without the aid of a car and not be spotted by anyone? And could he actually track down four people with only (dimly-rembered?) Christian names to go on?

Nor can the writer-director resist the temptation of a conventionally silly final scene twist after the main action ends. But, as I say, if you like this kind of thing...

David Quinlan

Bulgaria/UK 2019. UK Distributor: LionsGate. Colour (unspecified).
92 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 3, Drugs 0, Swearing 2.

Review date: 14 Oct 2020