Coup D’État | Review Score = 3.5/5
Mutually Assured Destruction | Review Score = 3/5
Surrender at Discretion | Review Score =3/5
Rapprochement | Review Score = 2.5/5
Parallel Trenches | Review Score = 4/5
Code Red | Review Score = 3.5/5
Scorched Earth | Review Score = 3.5/5
Containment | Review Score = 3.5/5
Fog of War | Review Score =3.5/5
Shock & Awe | Review Score =3/5
Dare Me is an interesting cheerleading drama that takes elements of Gossip girl and other melodramas of its kind and blends them up into a 10 episode series driven by some dark, central themes around murder, rape and jealousy. Don’t be put off by the glitzy facade and early vibes in this one though – Dare Me is a show that takes a while to settle into its groove. Around the midway point, things really start to pick up and what follows is an endearing and well written mystery that keeps things interesting and tense, right the way through to its open, cliffhanger ending.
Based on the best-selling 2004 novel of the same name, Dare Me is a tale that predominantly revolves around three females. Addy and Beth are best friends; inseparable teenage girls reveling in the heady world of alcohol, drugs and parties. When new cheerleading coach Colette arrives to shake things up, what follows is a story that starts to drive a wedge in Beth and Addy’s friendship, while dark secrets blanket the trio.
Colette is not as squeaky clean as she first appears either and the catalyst for the drama stems from Beth and Addy stumbling upon a shocking secret their coach holds. From here the series sees this secret begin to divide all three girls, as Addy grows closer to Colette and pulls away from Beth.
As the series progresses, a really dark and stylistically impressive segment anchors the opening swathe of episodes, turning the story toward something far more darker and multifaceted. The final few episodes turn the tension up further as another secret sees Addy and Colette caught in over their heads, with the finale failing to really resolve much and leaving things wide open for a possible second season.
Stylistically, Dare Me has a lot in common with HBO’s Euphoria and from the cryptic narration and slow motion shots, through to the teasing imagery and strong focus on dark themes, both shows manage to weave their material in a really artistic fashion. Unlike Euphoria though, Dare Me never quite hits that same wow factor, injecting just enough swagger about to pull off these stylistic shots but never enough to help it fully stand out.
The trio of characters at the heart of this one – Addy, Beth and Colette – have some good chemistry on-screen and ultimately drive the narrative forward. There’s some really tense segments dotted throughout the 10 episodes and this ties in nicely to the overarching story. This is especially evident during the final few episodes where the narrative changes to a more intense “whodunit” as a murder rocks the school and sees a fair few candidates up as potential suspects – including two of our lead females.
It’s not the best teen drama, and the cliffhanger ending certainly hurts the integrity of this one, but Dare Me is a solid enough series worth watching. It boasts a tightly wound story that really comes into its own during the second half of episodes and if you can get past some of the early, formulaic melodrama, Dare Me grows into a much more consistent and rewarding show during its latter period of episodes.
If you’re in the mood for a compelling teen drama with an engaging story, and are craving more cheerleading shenanigans after Netflix’s Cheer, Dare Me is worth watching even if it does fail to nail its landing.