When I tell you Thommy Hutson was looking for a new project when he was brought on to write Syfy network’s newest horror film, Truth or Dare, don’t misunderstand me. He hasn’t been out of work. The man who brought us both the book and documentary Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy and His Name Was Jason: 30 Years of Friday the 13th as well as horror films like The Id and Animal stays as busy as he can. In fact he’s got another book and more documentaries headed our way very soon.
Still, he was looking to make another movie and when he reached out to his reps to see what was being passed around, they put him in touch with Cine Tel Films, who were actively searching for a writer for their newest outing.
“I went in and they told me the concept for Truth or Dare and showed me their approved outline,” Hutson explains. “I got really excited about it because it was really a horror film based in reality with a group of really great characters who could be anybody you know going into a Halloween house and all hell breaks loose. I love that it had a supernatural taste wrapped around a real world game that everybody has played at least once.”
The film centers on eight friends who enter a haunted rental on Halloween night where a group of people died 30 years before while playing a game of Truth or Dare that went horribly awry. Of course, our intrepid friends thing it’d be a great idea to enter the house and play the game themselves. What they don’t realize is that a malevolent presence lurks in the house and it begins using the game against them creating increasingly dangerous dares and punishing lies with death.
The presence uses everything in the house to communicate its dark dares and even to force the group to comply, and it put the writer’s imagination to the test.
“One of the most difficult things while I was writing was trying to come up with different ways for the house to tell them what to do,” Hutson says. “It was a lot of fun coming up with the ideas but I didn’t want to be too repetitive. I didn’t want to just use the clock over and over or writing on the walls.”
The writer also didn’t want to rely solely on the supernatural for his dares and the reasoning behind them.
“I spent a lot of time researching the various types of dangerous dares we could use and how they could happen in the realm of reality,” he says. “And also, how could the subjects of the dares survive? What could they do to protect themselves? I wanted people to watch the movie and think, ‘That’s what I’d do if I were in that situation!'”
As production moved forward, Hutson was delighted when one of this favorite people joined the cast for a pivotal role in the film. Heather Langenkamp, the heroine of A Nightmare on Elm Street, has been a friend of Hutson’s for a while, and the writer thought she was a perfect fit for the role of Donna Boone, the only participant of the game that was played 30 years earlier in the film to survive.
“I adore Heather. We love working together, and horror fans love seeing her in genre films,” Hutson points out. “So I kind of brought her name up because she’s so good at this kind of role. She can lend it that sincerity and gravitas that the role needed. She could definitely take it to the next level.”
Langenkamp is the second original NOES alum that Hutson has worked with on a project outside of the franchise and the documentary he worked on about it. He previously worked with Amanda Wyss in his directorial debut, The Id, and he says he’d love to work his way through that list of alumni making films with each of them.
Truth or Dare isn’t all scares, though. Hutson says he is particularly proud of some of the genuinely organically funny moments in the film, and he hopes that people feel that nervous giddiness he felt when writing those scenes. He credits director Nick Simon, who previously directed The Girl in the Photographs, with bringing that vision to life with the talented ensemble of actors involved in the film.
“Those scenes played so well with Nick’s direction. It creates this nervous, uneasy laughter, and it just really works!”
Truth or Dare airs on Syfy network on October 8, 2017 at 9pm EST! You can also follow Hutson on Twitter @ThommyHutson to stay up to date on the writer/producer/director’s latest projects.