People who know me, know 90’s classic slasher Scream is my favourite film of all time. I love it so much, I end up comparing every other slasher flick with it. Initiation was no exception, and I have to admit – this was pretty good.
The movie takes place at Whiton University, where a case of sexual assault gets buried and toxic masculinity is the norm. That all changes when a masked killer brutally murders a star-athlete and terrorises students across campus. A group of sorority sisters are busy uncovering what the school’s been hiding, while also dealing with trauma within their house. It’s only a matter of time before the next victim takes their last breath and the search for the killer hits closer to home than anyone would expect.
Director John Berardo subverts expectations by delivering a fresh and modern take on the genre, blending social commentary with suspense, in a terror-tastic thriller that’ll please both new slasher fanatics and those who’ve seen a fair share of them. Co-written by himself, Brian Frager and first time-writer/scream queen of the hour Lindsay LaVanchy (Scream: The TV Series), Initiation not only finds a way to balance drama with thriller, but also stars a killer cast that gives it their all.
LaVanchy is a star in the making, and easily draws attention to herself amidst all the action going on around her. It’s exciting to see young talent thrive and knowing she co-wrote the film, a promising future could await her. There’s not really anything bad to say about the rest of the cast, where slasher films easily fail in that regard. The score makes your blood pump, the cinematography is quick and well edited, and the build up towards a shockingly satisfying twist in the third act is done without flinching.
Initiation can’t be missed. Especially if you’re a fan of the genre and need your fix. If not for that concluding finale, I would’ve hoped for a sequel, but I have no idea how Berardo would pull that off. A slasher fan made happy – thank you.
Signature Entertainment are proud to present INITIATION, due to be released on DVD and Digital Platforms 24th May.
Review – Initiation
Reviewed online (screener provided by Signature Entertainment), May 23, 2021. Rating: MA15+. Running time: 96 min.
PRODUCTION: (UK) A Signature Entertainment release of a Shatterproof Films production. Producers: John Berardo, JP Castel, Brian Frager, Jon Huertas, Lindsay LaVanchy, Stephanie Stanziano. Executive producers: Anton Andreacchio, Nicholas Chen, Dylan Dreher, Michelle Ishii, Olivia Kong, En Ming Lai, Sophie Lai, Riya Majumdar, Shivam Malhotra.
CREW: Director: John Berardo. Writers: John Berardo, Lindsay LaVanchy, Brian Frager. Cinematography: Jonathan Pope. Editing: Kristina Lyons. Music: Alexander Arntzen.
CAST: Lindsay LaVanchy, Isabella Gomez, Froy Gutierrez, James Berardo, Gattlin Griffith, Adin Kolansky, Shireen Lai, Patrick Walker, Maxwell Hamilton, Bart Johson.