INITIATION opens at a frat party where we are introduced to Ellery Scott (Lindsay LaVanchy) and Wes Scott (Froy Gutierrez), siblings who seem to have a very close relationship. Wes is the college’s star athlete and is predicted to be Olympic bound, whereas Ellery is the leader of his frat’s sister sorority. At the party, one of the sorority sisters, Kylie (Isabella Gomez), drinks too much and, when Ellery goes looking for her, she finds her passed out in a locked room with Wes and the frat leader, Beau (Gattlin Griffith). Ellery helps Kylie home and finds out the next day that Kylie thinks she may have been assaulted, which makes her fear that her brother was involved. When her brother is killed that very day, Ellery, Kylie, and sorority sister Shayleen (Shirleen Lai) have to escape danger and try to figure out who is stalking them.
INITIATION is more than just a horror-thriller. It is a statement about cyberbullying and the lengths a prestigious school is willing to go in order to hide its dirty secrets. Lindsay LaVanchy does a fabulous job as sorority leader, Ellery. I really felt her conflict about her brother’s involvement in Kylie’s assault and I felt her pain at her hearing of Wes’s death. She is the perfect final girl in this; smart, gorgeous, and badass.
The supporting actors were also excellent. Shayleen, played by Shireen Lai, was especially great as Ellery’s best friend. She’s the loyal sorority sister who is compassionate to Kylie while never betraying Ellery’s trust. She’s also a strong female character who uses her brain instead of running and screaming as is the norm with so many supporting ladies in the horror genre.
I went into this film thinking I was in for just a fun ride, but came away with so much more. This is quality horror at its best. The effects were hideously believable and we are introduced to a killer with a unique method and interesting backstory. Co-writer and director John Berardo put out not only a frightening film but a film that has much meaning in our current social climate.
INITIATION will be released in theaters and will be available On Demand and on Digital on May 7, 2021, by Saban Films.
Disclaimer/Editor’s Note: Nightmarish Conjurings doesn’t endorse seeing movies in theaters at this time due to the pandemic. Please consider VOD and/or Drive-In options and, if you go to the theater, please be safe.