Review: ‘Initiation’ into this horror movie isn’t worth the effort – The Detroit News

Adam Graham, Detroit News Film Critic Published 3:24 p.m. ET May 6, 2021 | Updated 3:57 p.m. ET May 6, 2021

A slasher stalks a college campus in "Initiation," a standard issue horror offering where frat boys and sorority girls are picked off faster than you can set up a game of beer pong.

Things start off innocently enough at a frat party as coeds slam a mystery juice which one bro has dubbed"Pank Drank," which he keeps shouting like he's getting paid by the mention. Later, behind closed doors,Ellery (LindsayLaVanchy) finds her sorority sister Kylie (Isabella Gomez) passed out in one of the rooms. Kylie knows she was sexually assaulted but is hesitant to report it, and the next morning she finds her social media branded with an exclamation point.

A masked killer stalks university students in "Initiation."(Photo: Saban Films)

That exclamation point is meant to symbolize impurity, a form of shorthand communication among the frat members. "Tag the hoes to protect the bros," we hear the frat discussing at an earlier meeting,because "no one likes sloppy seconds." Ah yes, higher education at its finest.

Soon bodies start turning up on campus, victims of a metal mask-wearing killer who wields a power drill on theirtool belt of terror.Is it revenge for the sexual assault, an example of women taking back power on campus? Sadly this is where the intrigue and the momentum drainout of the film like one of the victims' bloodas it becomes a stale procedural with an abundance of lame red herrings. Is it the angry dad with the overly profane mouth, or maybe the creepy loner with a thing for his lab partner? Or some other barely fleshed out character we hardly know or care about?

Don't bother trying to figure out whodunnitbecause the revelation makes no sense. If there's any innovation in directorJohn Berardo's tellingit's the way that he uses social media on screen: text messages, phone calls and Instagram windows appear and hover around characters, following them wherever they go. It's an evolution of the way we've seen phone usedepicted on screen in recent years. It's also the basis for another, potentially more interesting horror movie, the one where social media is the real stalker, the one that never gives up the hunt.


Rated R:for strong bloody violence, some crude sexual content, drug use, and language throughout

Running time: 97 minutes



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Review: 'Initiation' into this horror movie isn't worth the effort - The Detroit News

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