For Ryan Lohin, UMass Lowell has more to offer than just hockey

Lohin tallied 29 points this past season, the most of any rookie on the team. (Matt Dwyer/Connector).

Dan Cangiano
Connector Contributor

If someone asked freshman forward Ryan Lohin to describe himself, he would tell them he is just an ordinary guy, playing the sport he loves, trying to live a normal life. His teammates and coaches from the UMass Lowell men’s ice hockey team, however, would praise his drive and work ethic.

“Ever since Ryan arrived at UMass Lowell in the fall of 2016, he has made a positive impact not only on our hockey program, but [on] the university and community as well,” said Troy Thibodeau, the Director of Hockey Operations at UMass Lowell.

A native of Chadds Ford, PA, Lohin first picked up a hockey stick in first grade with little to no help from family members. “My dad can’t even skate,” said Lohin. “The whole family was never into hockey until I started to play. They didn’t know that much about it.”

Lohin started to take the sport more seriously around eighth grade when he made the decision to stick with hockey and give up baseball, a sport that ran in the family with his grandfather even playing in Major League Baseball. Playing on an under-16 hockey team, Lohin decided he could pursue a career playing professional hockey, and at age 17, as a senior in high school, he received an offer to play hockey at UMass Lowell.

In June of 2016, prior to coming to the university, Lohin heard his name called at the National Hockey League entry draft when the Tampa Bay Lightening selected him in the seventh round.

“I wasn’t banking on being drafted. I was kind of watching the beginning (of the draft) and it seemed like everybody around me was getting drafted. I turned it off during the fifth round and not much later I got the call,” said Lohin.

One of the best parts of being drafted for Lohin was being able to tell his parents the good news. “They were upstairs not even watching and I called them down to tell them. It was pretty exciting for sure.”

When it came to the choice of playing Canadian Major-Junior hockey or taking the NCAA Division I route, the answer was always clear for Lohin. He was always set on going to college, and the opportunity for him to play for his school was one that he had never experienced before.

“He’s down to earth, he’s a leader both on and off the ice, and he’s an exceptional hockey player who is always working to get better,” said redshirt freshman forward Chris Schutz.

But outside of hockey, Lohin is a student at UMass Lowell just like everybody else, and he is majoring in business.

“With my major, I kind of wanted to keep my options open…You can go really anywhere with business,” he said. “I enjoy being part of a team and in business teamwork is essential for success.”

A few things stood out to Lohin that helped him make the decision to come here, such as the family atmosphere and the rich history of the hockey program, which made the decision easy for him. The experiences only seemed to get better after he arrived and began classes.

“You get to know everybody and your teachers at the same time. Your classes are small enough that you get to know your professors on a more personal level and you aren’t just another number in a book,” Lohin said.

“His high GPA speaks to his overall commitment to being a well-rounded student-athlete,” said Thibodeau. “I believe he has a very bright future at UMass Lowell and beyond.”

Marina Novaes the all-star activist

Michelle Janiak
Connector Contributor

“Hey, hey, ho, ho, Donald Trump has got to go!” On Jan. 21, 2017, thousands of individuals in Boston united to protest the shocking election of Donald Trump. Among the protestors shouting anti-Trump slogans was Marina Novaes. In high school, Novaes actively engaged in fighting for human rights. Post-election, her activism has amped up full force.

These days, Novaes, a senior at UMass Lowell, spends her days advocating for human rights. “I’m always rooting for the underdog,” Novaes says. Not only does she advocate, but she spends her days immersed in questioning why individuals have privileges and others do not. This has turned into, “needing to do something about it.”

In high school in Medford, Novaes was in a local church group called Diocesan Youth Council. People would come year round to talk about spiritual exploration. This led to Novaes going on a mission trip to El Salvador at 15 and she says her perspective on life changed forever. “It really opened my eyes to a lot of inequality that happens globally.”

Novaes met children living in houses made of dirt, tin and aluminum and did not go to school, have shoes or know where their next meal was coming from. Gangs were a big presence in El Salvador and so they had to be cautious of their attire when going to different territories. “When I saw that drastic gap in how people live, that made me really want to be an advocate for people,” says Novaes. “Not everyone has an equal playing field and opportunity for success.”

Abbey Tavernese, a junior at UMass Lowell, says she is a compassionate, strong-willed and determined individual. She says Novaes was one of the first people that made her question why things are the way they are. Even when the fight is a long battle, Novaes, she says, “fights for what she believes in until there’s no fight left in her.” As one of Novaes’s friends, Tavernese says that despite the struggles she goes through, she always stands back up, dusts herself off and persists on.

When Barack Obama was president, “I think people kind of relaxed a little bit,” says Novaes. While she was still a strong advocate and activist, Novaes says she felt the country was progressing on human rights for all. However, Donald Trump sprouted a lot of grassroots activism in which young people are standing up for their beliefs. Novaes says, “We are tired of letting other people who sometimes don’t have our best interest at heart control us.”

Even though Novaes is tired of fighting against people in power, she does not back down.  “It all started because my friends and I were going to a music festival in Rothberry, [Mich.],” Novaes says. They attended Rage for Change, the organization she and her friends created to raise money for the Flint, Mich. water crisis. In a group message with her friends, someone said, “Zoos are not cool and how they don’t take good care of animals.” A dentistry organization donated money to elephants in zoos, sending three to four times more than to kids in Michigan to help with their dental hygiene. “It made me question their prioritization. Do they really care about these people or was it a publicity stunt?”

Novaes says that Flint’s government transitioned to a much older water system without checking the water for lead. Rage for Change raised $2,000 dollars to help Flint’s water crisis, Novaes says.

When Novaes is not out waving a handmade protest sign, educating herself on human rights or “out saving the world, she can be found watching ‘It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’ while eating her favorite meal, rice and beans,” says Novaes’s boyfriend, Matthew Prekop. Prekop says that Novaes was the one to organize Rage for Change and never stops inspiring others to advocate for what is right.

“Sometimes I feel like I do a lot that I need to balance it with nothing,” Novaes says. Netflix is her form of doing “nothing.” Another pastime of Novaes is going to concerts with her friends. “I like to go on little adventures to towns I haven’t been to,” she says.

Novaes also enjoys painting and collaging when she has the time and energy. “I do a lot of gifting, making art for other people.” Novaes’s empathetic nature causes her to do things for other people even in her spare time.

“There is a purpose for my life, and it’s to help people,” she says.

Why is UMass Lowell’s tuition increasing?

Bianca Chery
Connector Contributor

Going to college is such a unique experience that no other experience can quite simulate. More people are getting college degrees, therefore more people are getting to experience this formative, unique experience.

Yet there is a major burden on the back of current college students and college graduates. The burden is… debt. The cost of getting a degree has inflated exponentially over the past couple of decades. More and more students and families are having to deal with the crippling debt that comes with higher education. The need of a college degree is on the rise, student debt is on the rise, and tuition increase is on the rise, even at state schools.

UMass Lowell in particular has seen about $7,000 increase in tuition in less than a decade. But UMass Lowell is a state school, and state schools are known to supposedly be the affordable route for higher education.  So, as expected, many students are not happy about the tuition increase.

Samuel Fredericksen, a chemical engineering major, says that he feels like is getting the best education UMass Lowell has to offer. When it came to tuition, Fredericksen had another opinion. “There is no question, tuition is increasing exponentially with no added value [to students],” said Fredrickson.

Ryan Callahan, a political science major with a legal studies minor, has a similar opinion: “Tuition keeps going up. [Schools] seem to take every opportunity they can to take your money.” Callahan said he was also very happy with education he is getting from UMass Lowell, but he could not understand why the tuition was increasing.

Steven O’Riordan, the associate vice chancellor for Financial Services, had the answers, as his job is to oversee campus budget and financial planning.

When it came to why tuition was increasing so much, O’Riordan said, “The key contributor to student tuition going up is lack of state funding. The budget has been cut from 35-25, the largest part that is growing this year is student tuition. But we have to make sure we keep quality. The benefits are that we don’t let anything quality drop [from our school]. We have also been offering new classes and new staff.”

In response to why the state was cutting funding, O’Riordan said, “We can’t rely on the state to give us funding since the state is slashing the funding. All we can do is keep working hard for the services. The states have a number of challenges that they have to deal with every year, rising health care costs, crumbling infrastructure, social services to the people who need it, investing from K-12 education. The state feels like college costs can increase.  Our campus has grown 50 percent as well since 2008, we need more police, more faculty, mental help needs services, disability services, these all have a cost. Tuition has to increase to keep up with these costs.”

UMass Lowell’s very own student trustee, senior Malinda Reed, also had opinions on the matter. Reed said she thinks that in general UMass Lowell is an affordable school. In regard to the tuition increase, she said, “It’s not ideal. I don’t think anyone in the university wants to do that. We aren’t getting enough help from the state. A majority of our funding is supposed to come from the state, but we aren’t getting adequate state support to maintain what we have, or to even develop and improve upon this school.”

There is no question as to whether higher education is expensive and getting more expensive, but it is now clear that it is always in the hands of the university. Costs to attend UMass Lowell are going up because state funding is going down. Yet students are not helpless. Reed said there are many ways they can combat the cost of tuition increase.

“Advocating at the state level for more funding. For example, I for the past three years have attended Advocacy Day, an annual event at the state house run by the non-profit, Phenom. Students from across Massachusetts gather at the state house and meet with their legislatures to advocate the importance of state funding for public higher education. Another important event is the UMass Impact Reception. Another student advocacy event organized by the student trustees in collaboration with the UMass President’s office… At this event legislatures can hear from students directly how funding impacts student families. They also emphasize the economic impact that the UMass system has on the common wealth. The message being sent is that legislatures should fund higher education, an investment,” said Reed.

Becoming a nomad in the digital age

It may be easier for college students to become digital nomads than they may think. (Courtesy of YouVisit)

Dorian Taylor
Connector Staff

Many aspiring travelers become discouraged from traveling because they feel like they are too busy or do not have enough money. For aspiring travelers in a point in their lives where they are not tied down to one location, (whether it be for family, career or relationship reasons) these two problems can be solved by finding employment that allows you to make money while traveling.

With the cultural adaptation of the internet across the world, many traditional occupations can now be worked from any location with internet access. By possessing any marketable skill–ranging from marketing to guitar playing—a traveler may very well be able to make a living while on the road. Dana Norton—associate director of Career Services at UMass Lowell—said, “They’re calling these people digital nomads. This could be referring to people working remotely from home or to people who want to travel.”                                                                            

It is crucial for digital nomads to have a thorough understanding of their skill set, and to decide which of those skills or areas of expertise can be monetized through the internet. Norton said, “The first thing to do is to think about what you can do. Think about what skill you can really sell, or what skill you could sell in the future; maybe one that you have already started and have talent in.”

For the Social Butterflies

With more and more companies adopting social media to promote their businesses, many young people who grew up using the internet and social media may be overlooking a very useful skill that almost all of them have: understanding social media and online communication.

Related to social media management, freelance marketing, marketing consulting and crowdsourcing are all great options for aspiring travelers who have some background in marketing and have proficient communication skills. These types of positions vary in required experience and education levels, but when freelancing your skill set Norton said, “It is important to learn how to freelance before going out and traveling, and to find some clients first to give yourself some more job security.”

For the Creative

For the more artistic individuals, occupations such as graphic designer, digital artist, freelance photographer and illustrator can all be profitable crafts for digital nomads. Whether travelers are seeking full time employment as artists or would simply like to make some secondary income from posting the photos taken from their journey, their work can be uploaded to websites like Fotolia or Artfinder, where they can be purchased.

For the Technology-Savvy

This category may seem intimidating, but a little bit of knowledge in a specific area of the technology field can be very lucrative for a digital nomad.

Options for this type of employment include: web designer, front end developer, software developer and promotional video maker. Those who can create promotional videos are only becoming more valuable as Norton said, “So many businesses and organizations are putting videos on YouTube now. They need professionals to make those videos.”

For the Writers

Many digital nomads are earning their incomes through various forms of freelance writing. Whether it be writing articles for news organizations, blogging, copywriting or writing public relation statements for companies, there are many remote options for writers who want to travel. Of these options, blogging is the most accessible to anyone. If you have any knowledge or interest in any realm of life, whether it be movies, fitness, cooking, etc., blogging about your topic can become a long term source of income if you draw in enough readers.

 For Anyone

By no means do aspiring travelers need to have college degrees or highly technical knowledge. For those who have customer service or administrative experience, working as a customer service call center representative or a virtual assistant are becoming very accessible, entry level jobs for digital nomads. For those who are fluent in a foreign language, becoming a translator or an online ESL teacher—teaching English to foreign language speakers—are both great options. With a significant set of knowledge or skills in any specific area, almost anyone can make money by creating an online course on websites like Udemy.com, and teaching others808 what they know. Udemy offers online courses with categories ranging from business, to music, to general lifestyle knowledge, and anyone can sign up to become an instructor.

The bottom line is, if one really wants to make money while traveling they are fortunate enough to live in the best time to try it. Whether it be seeking out a company that could use help with managing their social media, searching introspectively to find a skill, talent or specific knowledge you have that can be profitable, one can find a way to make money on the road with just a quick self assessment of your skills and a little bit of creativity.

MA Senate passes consumer protections for student loan borrowers

The students in UMass Lowell’s MASSPIRG chapter. (Courtesy of UMass Lowell MASSPIRG)

Kelly Michael Skelton
Connector Staff

The Massachusetts Student Public Interest Research Group (MASSPIRG) is a statewide, student directed and funded, nonpartisan organization engaging in research, education, service and action on many social issues. With a chapter at UMass Lowell, the consumer group stands up to powerful interests whenever they deem that their health and safety, financial security or a right to participate in a democratic society is threatened.

In the over 40 years of service by MASSPIRG, the organization has heavily advocated for students, the environment and consumers. Recently, they have helped register over 6,000 student voters, pushed for successful legislation to lift the cap on solar energy and helped convince large restaurants such as McDonald’s and Subway to serve meat raised without antibiotics.

MASSPIRG is currently working on a variety of campaigns, including stopping the overuse of antibiotics, saving the bees and striving for 100% renewable energy. In addition, the organization looks forward to focusing on registering new voters, making textbooks more affordable and helping the hungry and homeless population.

The most recent accomplishment for the group was on April 11 when the Massachusetts Senate passed a long MASSPIRG-anticipated Student Loan Bill of Rights (SB 2380) with a unanimous 36-0 vote. The bill was constructed in order to protect student loan borrowers from unfair, predatory and deceptive practices of student lending and loan servicing companies. The bill was filed by Senator Eric Lesser of Longmeadow.

Developed as a result of illegal and unethical lending methods, the new legislation protects student borrowers by licensing student loan servicers. This law aims to hold lenders accountable for deceptive practices and empowers both the Division of Banks and the Office of Attorney General to take action against servicers when they violate the bill. Furthermore, the mandate establishes a Student Loan Ombudsman office to resolve disputes and collect or review servicing practices.

To learn more about MASSPIRG’s mission, leader and involvement, visit https://masspirgstudents.org/ or email UMass Lowell’s MASSPIRG Chapter Chair at ann_kurian@student.uml.edu for more information.

Hockey is life for Ben Wharram

Dorian Taylor
Connector Staff

It is a brisk Saturday morning in February outside of the Chelmsford Forum ice rink, and it is even colder inside. Families are gathered to watch a Bantam(13 to 14-year-old league) ice hockey game  between Billerica and Chelmsford, but games like these would not be possible without unsung heroes like 20-year-old referee Ben Wharram.

Wharram is a full-time journalism student at UMass Lowell, and a part-time hockey referee for players age six through 16. Wharram grew up in Petersham, Mass. in a house full of passionate hockey fans.

“I’ve been playing ice hockey my whole life,” says Wharram, “Both me and my two older brothers grew up playing.” Wharram was a year-round athlete in high school and although he no longer plays sports in college, his athletic spirit has stayed with him.

Almost every Saturday and Sunday morning, while many of his peers are sleeping until noon after their late nights out, Wharram is up at six a.m., shuffling around his apartment to get ready for a full day of refereeing. Wharram admits, “When you have to get up at 6 o’clock on a Saturday morning for a squirt (6 to 7-year-old league) game it would be really hard for someone who didn’t love the sport to have the motivation to go.”

Anyone watching Wharram on the ice can see why he wakes up on those cold winter mornings before sunrise. His passion for the sport is palpable. Where some referees appear to be conserving their energy, Wharram expertly tracks down the puck as it glides up and down the rink. He skates with intensity to make sure he is as close to the action as possible, his eyes predicting where the puck will go next.

It is only Wharram’s second year as a hockey referee, and although it can be very challenging at times he says that his only regret is not starting sooner. On average, Wharram makes about $2,000 each month working weekends alone.

Wharram says that he is satisfied with the amount of money he makes as a referee, but admits that another drawback to his job is that it consumes his entire weekends. Wharram says that he works an average of 10-15 games every weekend, leaving him very little free time.

“It’s definitely too much sometimes,” he says. “But you just have to budget your time. You can’t really be playing video games during the week, but that’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make.”

Wharram spends most of his free time with his girlfriend of three years, Melissa DiPano, who describes her boyfriend as, “One of those people who is charismatic without trying to be,” and “easy going and fun to be with.”

When Wharram puts on his black and white stripped jersey and ice skates, however, he has to shift his easy-going attitude to one more authoritarian.

“He is very serious during games,” said DiPano. “He typically refs with guys that are a lot older than him, so he kind of has to establish respect.”

Wharram’s coworkers also notice his dedication and commitment to the sport.

Chris Ronayne, age 32, a fellow ice hockey referee that works for the same company as Wharram says, “You can tell Ben really cares about the sport, and that’s such an important quality for any referee to have. He also treats the job very seriously and always remains professional.”

It can be hard to stay professional when being forced to confront the violent nature of hockey.

“I’ve had to break up plenty of fights, man,” Wharram says, “and I’ve even gotten punched and elbowed doing it.”

Along with the physical damage, he says that it is not uncommon for him to also take verbal abuse from parents of the players. At almost every game he referees he says that there are parents that yell things at him like “You’re blowing the game!” or “Get your eyes checked!”

Wharram says that he has even had to throw out coaches for using obscene language in front of young children. “There are some games that make me want to never ref again,” Wharram admits, “But once I go home and cool off for a while, I’m usually ready to go back the next day. And the Money helps too,” he says with a smirk.

Wharram says that he had never thought about a career in hockey until his freshman year of college. With his extensive hockey knowledge and natural athletic ability, he decided to leave his “boring” dishwasher job, take the referee certification exam and start refereeing his sophomore year.

When asked what his dream job would be he said, “I think it would be really cool to ref professionally, or for juniors over in Europe.” Wharram also explains that this idea is not too far fetched since he comes from New England, which he calls the “hub of hockey,” making his hockey experience more credible and valuable to potential employers.

But for now, Wharram says that he will continue to rise and grind through those long winter weekends, even after a demanding week of speed reading books and writing late night essays, because his love for the sport is too strong to give it up.

Op-Ed: The NFL Draft is full of possibilities

Sam Darnold is projected to be the first pick in the NFL draft by some analysts. (Mark J. Terrill/AP). 

Jason Ounpraseuth
Connector Staff

April 26 will mark a life-changing event for the young men looking to make a dream come true. This year’s National Football League (NFL) Draft is highlighted by five quarterbacks that could potentially be drafted in the first round. The Cleveland Browns, the Buffalo Bills and the New England Patriots are the only teams with two first-round picks. Which quarterback do the Browns take? Are the Patriots angling to draft the successor to Tom Brady? Where does Saquon Barkley get drafted? The drama and the suspension are what make the NFL Draft a major event for NFL fans.

Sam Darnold has been hailed by many mock drafters as the number one pick in the draft. He has been described as a “safe choice” for the Browns because he can sit out a year as Tyrod Taylor plays out a year or two, like the way the Chiefs had Alex Smith play all last season to have Patrick Mahomes succeed him. However, Josh Allen has emerged from various sources as a contender to be the number one overall pick. A report from The Ringer has also claimed that the Browns are considering drafting two quarterbacks.

Reports like these show that the quarterbacks in this draft have their flaws and the advantages for each of the five quarterbacks are not strong enough to say which one will be better than the other. Darnold has stepped up for the University of Southern California in big games, but his turnover issues are cited as the main concern for him. Allen statistically ranks the lowest out of the top five quarterbacks but playing at the University of Wyoming may have been the cause of what is making scouts think that with a better situation, Allen can blossom into a better quarterback like the one he was in college. Josh Rosen has been praised as being the most professionally-ready quarterback, but scouts are not so sure what his ceiling could be. Baker Mayfield has great accuracy and the tools of a leader, but his size and arm strength could make him a bust. Lamar Jackson might not even be drafted in the first round if teams do not believe he can be the next big thing.

Jackson has all the tools for the modern game. He has played under Bobby Petrino at the University of Louisville where they run a pro-style passing offense, making him ready for day one if need be. He throws a great deep ball, and his ability to escape the pocket makes him a matchup nightmare. Concerns over his accuracy are legitimate, but not many people are convinced Jackson can succeed in the NFL for a myriad of reasons, including the idea of whether or not he should play wide receiver.

One team that does not see him as a wide receiver is the New England Patriots. Along with their own first-round pick, they also traded Brandin Cooks for the Los Angeles Rams’ first-round pick, igniting a debate over what the Patriots will do with their two first round picks. Analysts have theorized that Jackson could be drafted by the Patriots as a successor to Brady. Jackson’s passing and physical abilities combined with Josh McDaniels’ ability to get the most out of his players would, in theory, create the perfect plan for the post-Brady era. The retirement of left tackle Nate Solder would lead one to believe that they will use one of those picks on a lineman, but Bill Belichick does not have much of a history of drafting offensive lineman in the first round. Fans should expect some sort of big move for the Patriots, whether it is drafting Jackson, drafting quality players or trading down for more picks to strength the roster.

Barkley is the clear top offensive talent in this year’s draft. Where he will go is unknown. What the Giants do at the number two spot will alter how the draft plays out. Will the Giants draft Eli Manning’s replacement? Will they draft the top offensive lineman Quinten Nelson? The Giants drafting Barkley will symbolize the confidence the front office have in Manning, but Barkley will succeed wherever he goes because of his talent and adaptability in any system.

This year’s NFL offseason has been highlighted by a high number of trades. Expect the same for the NFL Draft. The Buffalo Bills, the Miami Dolphins and the Arizona Cardinals are looking to get a quarterback, so they will try to trade up to get one of the top five quarterbacks.

One player has the potential to change a season for team but that scenario does not always go to plan. The NFL Draft serves as a good litmus test for fans to see how their team can project in the future, but most importantly, the NFL Draft is a stepping stone for the anticipation of the return to NFL action.

The truth is ‘Truth or Dare’ is awful

Director Jeff Wadlow was hired after he came up with an idea for the movie’s opening scene. (Photo courtesy of Universal Pictures)

Owen Johnson
Connector Editor

Horror movies that are based around games, such as “Ouija,” and horror movies that have dumb titles, such as “The Bye Bye Man,” tend to be awful. “Truth or Dare” has both characteristics, and it is indeed awful.

After a group of friends play a game of truth or dare in an old church in Mexico over spring break, the friends discover that the game has followed them home. They must tell the truth or do the dare, otherwise they die.

The movie’s main problem is revealed right off the bat, and that is that none of the characters are likable or well developed. The opening scene of the movie is a group of friends convincing the movie’s main character Olivia (Lucy Hale) to come with them to Mexico for spring break. It uses this opportunity to give Olivia’s only two character traits, that she likes to help people and she has feelings for her best friend’s boyfriend, and then it cuts to a montage of the friends fooling around in Mexico. The development of these characters and their relationships is all rushed and just shown through this montage as the movie is only interested in getting these vessels (and that is what they are, because they are barely characters) to play truth or dare so that they can start being killed off.

The one thing that the movie does to try and get the audience invested in these characters is to make the emotional core of the movie the friendship between Olivia and Markie (Violett Beane) and the love triangle with them and Markie’s boyfriend Lucas (Tyler Posey), but all of this information is poorly given out and since the only real sense there is that Olivia and Markie are friends is the first scene of the movie and how they keep saying through dialogue that they are good friends, the emotions are hollow.

Now that this group of characters who can die without much care from the audience are being followed by the game, the embarrassingly bad horror elements begin to get implemented. The movie has dumb jump scares, but it goes far beyond that. Before a character has to choose truth or dare, a nearby person’s face will have an awful looking CGI smile edited onto their face, and it is more comical than scary. As a character even says in the movie, “It looks like a bad Snapchat filter.” Then a convoluted story about a demon is introduced, which just serves to bog the story down and add 10 extra minutes.

Just to go on a quick tangent about the demon, it should be noted that “Truth or Dare” could not even name a demon well. The name of the demon, Calex, sounds less like a demon’s name and more like the name of a character in “Star Wars.”

This addition of the demon story line helps to underline just how lacking in ideas “Truth or Dare” was. It seemed like every few steps of the way, the screenwriters had to change something to keep the movie fresh. For example, half way through the movie the game changes so that the characters can only do truth twice in a row. Why? Because the writers came up with some reason why and made it a rule to add tension and stakes to the film. The ultimate climax of the movie is also another situation where the rules suddenly change, which ends up robbing the finale of sort of weight it could have had.

The arbitrary creation of story elements to keep the movie fresh is annoying in its own right, but what is really bad is when the movie just starts tossing out its rules for the sake of plot convenience, which is very much present towards the second half of the movie. For example, the rule is that to survive the game, the person playing has to tell the truth or do the dare. However, some characters’ dares are to try and kill other players, and sometimes the demon just takes control of a character in order to kill another character.

“Truth or Dare” was a monumental failure of a horror movie. Bad scares, bad characters and bad story telling all came together to form a bad horror movie.

Final Grade: D-

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