Director: John Berardo
Writer: John Berardo, Brian Frager, Lindsay LaVanchy (Screenplay)
Starring: Lochlyn Munro, Yancy Butler, Jon Huertas, Froy Gutierrez, Gatlin Griffith, Isabella Gomez, Bart Johnson
Plot: Whiton University unravels the night a star-athlete is murdered, kicking off a spree of social media slayings that force students to uncover the truth behind the school’s hidden secrets and the horrifying meaning of an exclamation point.
Runtime: 1 Hour 38 Minutes
There may be spoilers in the rest of the review
Story: Initiation starts with an incident at a college party, with Ellery Scott (LaVanchy) looking to investigate what happened with her brother star athlete Wes (Gutierrez) and her friend Kylie (Gomez), an incident which neither remember. When Wes is stalked and murdered by a masked killer, Detective Sandra Fitzgerald (Butler) is leading the case.
Dr Bruce Van Horn (Munro) is looking to get this crime solved quickly, while looking to keep the secrets of the fraternity a secret, but when the killings continue, the bodies start to pile up with the secret only waiting to reveal the killer.
Thoughts on Initiation
Characters & Performances – Ellery Scott is the member of the female dorm that is always preparing the girls for their nights out, making sure they have a buddy system, to watch out over each other after an incident the year before. After a new incident, she knows how the reporting them works and she looks to investigate it herself, but after her brother is killed, she looks to protect her friends from the new killer. Lindsay LaVanchy is great in the leading role of this film, not just being a scream queen to what is going on. Bruce Van Horn runs the university, making sure the right students end up, and for the university, reputation is everything to him, which has seen him investigating incidents to make sure the public don’t know about them. Lochlyn Munro does make this unpleasant spin doctor entertaining to watch despite the fact you will hate him. We do also have the rest of Ellery’s friends, who are looking to stick together through the times, we meet the boy’s fraternity that host the wild parties and have caused the problems before and finally we meet the different police members looking into the murders. One of the weaknesses of the film does come from the lack of development of any of these characters, as most we get to meet for longer amounts of time, usually become the latest victims, or pointing the fingers to them being behind the murders. The performances are good through the film, being all we would expect from a slasher styled movie.
Story – The story here follows a university campus turned on its head when a string of murders start happening, with a secret from the past being the main reason behind why this is happening. This does bring the serious issues behind university mentality to the table, putting a firm spotlight on how the students have been forced to change their behaviour because of what happens on the campus. That is the most important side of the story, because deep down it is showing us how different sides react in a smarter way than the recent ‘Black Christmas’ did. When it comes to the slasher side of the story, we get all the entertainment and stalking behaviour needed.
Themes – Initiation is a horror slasher that will bring the sub-genre into a modern era, which is a mix because the slasher side is just how we would imagine it, but the annoying text messages on screen is the biggest and worst thing about this film. The university setting does make this a contain experience, with each location being used for the kills.
This is a recommendation for the Latvian movie.
Director: Dzintars Dreibergs
Writer: Boris Frumin (Screenplay) Aleksandrs Grins (Novel)
Starring: Oto Brantevics, Greta Trusina, Martins Vilsons, Rezija Kalnina, Raimonds Celms, Jekabs Reinis
Plot: After losing his mother and his home, Arturs finds some consolation in joining the army. However, war is nothing like he imagined.
Tagline – A sixteen-year-old Arturs enlists to fight in WWI with dreams of becoming a hero, but after surviving the brutalities of trench warfare and the loss of his family, he wonders if his efforts in battle were futile and if hope is only to be found in rebuilding a family and a home as Latvia itself is born from the atrocities of war.
Runtime: 2 Hours 3 Minutes
This is a recommendation only, no review to go with the film.