With the upcoming release of “Truth or Dare”, the latest quirky horror movie from Blumhouse, the question is beginning to circulate: should the studio pull all of their successful movies together into a single, cohesive cinematic universe.
In an interview with Screen Rant, Tyler Posey, who appears in “Truth or Dare”, has been talking through the possibility of connecting everything together, and it certainly does make a lot of sense.
“SR: Truth Or Dare is obviously a Blumhouse film. Would you ever want to see a Blumhouse cinematic universe? Because I feel like you could totally cross these franchises over.
Tyler Posey: You totally could, man. We were actually just talking about that. And one thing that would be cool is that Truth Or Dare deals with demons and so was Paranormal Activity, you know?
SR: Lin Shaye [Insidious actress] could be like that through-line character for all of it.
Tyler Posey: Right, right, right, right, right, right. I love that idea. I think I’ve always been entertained by the idea of a production company shooting stuff that has nothing to do with one another, but they’re in the same universe and then potentially doing a crossover that’s like kind of subtle or not subtle at all. I think that’d be really cool.”
On paper, this sounds fantastic – all of these great horror movies are being made by the same studio, just as Marvel makes a bunch of different superhero fare and not much else. Connecting the dots really wouldn’t take much work at all.
Personally, I feel like Blumhouse meets my number one criteria for a good shared universe: the studio has focused on building engaging, interesting stories first, without worrying about teasing future sequels.
Doing a Shared Universe Right
Too often, a movie studio will start with the thought that they want to form a cinematic universe, without finding anything solid to hang it on.
Such is the case, for example, with Universal’s Dark Universe. The studio has attempted to make this franchise work twice, and both times, because they’re more interested in the destination than the journey, their movies have ended up being utterly atrocious.
If Blumhouse started tying things together, it’d feel more like fanservice than a sneaky attempt to set up sequels. Die hard fans would get a kick out of seeing familiar characters, while less involved fans could miss the connections entirely, or could be inspired to try another movie that they might like.
The Problem With Continuity
At the same time, there is a downside to tying everything together. Part of the reason why horror is so appealing is because the audience gets to figure out the bizarre rules of the universe – this is especially true of the movies from Blumhouse, where a lot of the mystery comes from the specifics of the strange goings on at the center of the story.
If each movie exists within its own continuity, then the audience doesn’t already know anything about the rules of the universe.
Alternatively, if Blumhouse kicked off a cinematic universe, then fans would be aware at the start of every film that things like time travel and body swapping are possible under the right circumstances.
Perhaps we’re better off in a world where the creative teams at Blumhouse have the freedom to change things as they see fit, so that they’re not tied down by existing continuity.
In the meantime, fans are free to come up with whatever convoluted theories and headcanon lore they like.
There doesn’t need to be an official Blumhouse shared universe; fans can make things up as they go.
Kind of like how some fans like to pretend that “Being John Malkovich” and “Get Out” are set in the same universe (yes, this is a real fan theory, people have even asked Jordan Peel about it and he’s on board); sometimes, a good fan theory doesn’t need an official sanction from studio executives.