It’s a classic moment in holiday cinema history. Ralphie, Flick, and Swartz are gathered around a flagpole in the dead of winter. Flick is scoffing at the idea that your tongue will stick to a metal surface under these extreme cold conditions. So Swartz commits a small violation of etiquette when he goes right for the triple dog dare. There isn’t any way out for our friend Flick. The results are predictable, but nonetheless hilarious. I wish I could say the same for the teen angst film Triple Dog. For me, there truly was no way out. You, my gentle reader, might yet save yourself.
Eve (Fast) is having a birthday sleepover. The guests include her best friend Chapin (Robertson), who is a bit of a loudmouthed troublemaker. She’s carrying a pretty dark secret that is causing her to act out and behave in a self-destructive manner. There’s also Liz (Taylor-Compton) who is the dark school outcast. She’s nicknamed “rat girl” because she carries a pet rat in her backpack. She and Chapin really do not like each other. Liz wasn’t really invited, but their mothers are friends and she’s pushed into the sleepover party. Cecily (Parish) is the rich girl in the group. Her father owns a local store. She’s also the proper class president and academian in the group. Sarah (Tennant) is a strait-laced Catholic girl who is the uptight do-gooder in the group. Finally there is Nina (McKillip), who is the typical dumb blonde girl in the group.
The girls quickly become bored with the usual birthday or slumber party stuff and decide, at Chapin’s forceful prodding, to play a game of triple dog dare. The rules are pretty simple:
- Everyone puts all of their cash and their favorite item with them in a pile on the bed. (We learn later, the winner takes the stash.)
- Each person thinks up a dare for another person to do.
- The birthday girl gets to pick the order
- On your turn, you pick the person who gets to dare you. You have to do whatever they say. There are no limits.
- Once dared you have 2 choices. Perform the task, challenge the person who dared you to perform the task, or get your hair shaved completely off. You challenge your darer and they perform the task, you also get the clippers.
- At the end of the game, they vote on who performed their dare with the most style. That person gets the stash of cash and stuff.
The dares start out with the typical stuff which includes streaking and hiding in a boy’s closet in a cheerleader outfit for a few hours. As we get closer to Chapin, the stakes go up and cause some compromising positions for the contestants. To make it all worse, the entire night’s activities are being recorded on video.
The film was made before the now-famous suicide of a young man who was taped having sex with another guy which was posted on the internet. You can’t blame the film for the timing, but it does exist. I think the material might cause folks to take pause just based on that. But that’s not the only problem facing this film. It simply will not work for the adult crowd. It’s been ages since a movie made me feel so old. The teen slang bantered about here puts people like me completely on the outside of the experience. It’s quite exclusive. It gave me terrifying flashbacks of Valley Girls. Instead of “totally” it’s “tots”, which is something I thought girls used to carry stuff around. But the film is more Heathers than it is Valley Girls in theme. There is a surrounding story of a young girl who either jumped, fell, or was pushed from a local bridge where she was found later downstream with maggots all over her body, so we are told. There are suicidal themes here and a lot of a “fitting in” theme that reminded me a lot of Heathers. Only this film just isn’t as good. It will never achieve the cult status that film still enjoys.
“People who are depressed do crazy things.”
Like watch Triple Dog. If you aren’t depressed when you start watching the movie, I can guarantee you will be before it’s over. I’m sure that the themes here are absolutely important and valid issues for girls, and even boys of this age. The trouble is that film is far too exclusive and boring to ever drive home the points at all. The acting isn’t really bad at all. I found the girls believable enough. They were just a gathering of the expected “types” and had little personality beyond that. Chapin had the most potential, but she is so unlikable by the film’s conclusion that it’s hard to care for her by the time she reaches the point where we need to.
Triple Dog is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1. The 1080p image is arrived at with an AVC/MPEG-4 codec at an average of about 20-25 mbps. The film looks pretty good when it is lit well. Colors might not astound, but they do look quite natural. The real problem is the black levels and even some unexpected compression artifact. The disc is a single-layered disc, and that’s unfortunate for this high-definition image presentations. Black levels are very weak. Unfortunately, a lot of this film takes place outside at night. It’s a distracting flaw, to say the least.
The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 does exactly what it is intended to do. This is strictly a dialog film. There is little in the way of action, so you shouldn’t expect an aggressive mix here. It would not be appropriate. There’s a ton of teeny-girl-bubblegum music to be found here, and it sounds as good as it would on a good CD. There is actually a pleasant amount of sub just under the surface which does bring some body, particularly to the musical cues. In some areas the sub is too powerful and overdrives your sound system. This will really be a problem if you’re not using a separate sub channel. There are going to be some loud splashes that will force you to ride the volume. I hate having to do that.
Deleted Scenes: (6:06) There are 5 in all with no play-all option. However, if you select the first scene, the others will follow without you having to select them one by one. None of it is important. Rather it’s a lot of exposition.
I hope this review reaches you in time for you to avoid spending your precious moments of life watching this train wreck of a film. On the surface, I assume there might be some appeal for the pre-adolescent girls in the audience. I’m afraid that even that group will soon lose their patience with the movie. There is a moral message here somewhere about guilt, peer pressure, and conformity. I’m just not sure that anyone is going to get it. You see, you have to get through the entire film in order to reach such poignant moments. I don’t think you can do it. In fact, “I triple dog dare you”.