I’m stoked to help cover Screamfest 2020 this year. First up on my list is the new slasher, Init!ation. You can rarely go wrong with a bloody slasher, so I had high hopes for this one!
This film was directed by John Berardo as well as written by himself, Lindsay LaVanchy, and Brian Frager. It stars Jon Huertas (This Is Us), Isabella Gomez (One Day At A Time), Lochlyn Munro (Riverdale), Lindsay LaVanchy, Froy Gutierrez, Gattlin Griffith, Patrick Walker, Bart Johnson, Shireen Lai, and Yancy Butler,
Synopsis for Init!ation
This semester, it’s no longer a game. Teen horror is back with a vengeance in this edgy slasher for the social media generation. Whiton University students are caught in the midst of a brewing scandal after an insidious online game is taken one step too far. Chaos ensues when a star athlete is brutally murdered in his fraternity. Grasping for answers, his tenacious sister Ellery is forced to face her own denial over the reasons behind his murder. The clock ticks as a masked killer continues picking off students across campus. Ellery chases down the truth behind the school’s buried secrets, showing audiences the horrifying meaning of an exclamation point.
If I’ve learned anything from films, it’s that nothing ever good happens when a fraternity is involved and that is definitely the case in Init!ation. Some of the things that a group of people will do to feel accepted and the things that are done in initiation and pledging are often vial and horrifying and in this film we get to see this up close and personal. Sexual assault on campus is sadly a very common thing and more often than not it is swept under the rug but what happens when someone decides enough is enough?
With slashers, the performances are usually hit or miss but not with this film. Lindsay LaVanchy was especially phenomenal in Init!ation. She gives a strong and emotionally powered performance. You can feel her pain and confusion and embarrassment. Her character goes through hell and back after losing her brother and realizing he wasn’t the man she thought he was. I’m also a huge fan of Lochlyn Munro and I don’t think he’s ever given a bad performance. He’s really good at playing slimeball characters and he proves that once again in this film.
The thing that makes slashers so fun is guessing who is doing the killing. I kept guessing throughout the whole film and never got it right, which was great because I love being surprised and hopefully you will too. I can’t say I really felt sorry for anyone who got brutally sliced and diced in this, to me they had it coming (it’s a movie, don’t crucify me, haha)! But there’s some pretty awesome kills and blood spill for all you gorehounds.
The Init!ation had its US premiere at Screamfest Horror Film Festival on October 8th at 9 pm. This is now one of my new favorite slashers and it reminded me of why I originally fell in love with this genre.