pledge | daniel robbins | zack weiner | zachery byrd | phillip andre botello | college | thriller | united states | aaron dalla villa | cameron cowperthwaite | jesse pimentel | joe gallagher | jean-louis droulers | erica boozer | melanie rothman | sam naismith
Director: Daniel Robbins
Writer: Zack Weiner
Starring: Zachery Byrd, Phillip Andre Botello and Zack Weiner
This is the first new horror films for January 2019 that I’ve seen. I have a goal to try to watch at least one new one a week and when I saw that this was going to be shown at my local theater, I decided to check it out. The official synopsis is a group of college freshman pledges an exclusive fraternity but soon realize there’s more at stake than they could have ever imagined.
We kick off with a man running through a cornfield. We see that he is bleeding through his white shirt and looks scared. Someone appears in front of him and hits him in the face with what looks like a baseball bat.
The film then shifts into the future. We are following a group of friends. There is David (Zack Weiner), who is leading their search for a fraternity to join. With him is the heavier friend, Justin (Zachery Byrd), and Ethan (Phillip Andre Botello). They keep getting rejected at every fraternity they go to, but they are stopped by Rachel (Erica Boozer). She invites them to a party. They think at first it is a joke, but decide to go.
It is in the middle of nowhere and we see the cornfield from earlier. They go inside for a pretty crazy party. The head of it is Max (Aaron Dalla Villa). With him are Ricky (Cameron Cowperthwaite) who really befriends these guys and Bret (Jesse Pimentel) who is a bit intense. They also meet two others, Ben (Joe Gallagher) and Sam (Jean-Louise Droulers) who also are considering rushing. Everyone has a blast and they wake up the next morning. They are told to pack a bag and come back that night. When they do though, it’s not quite what they expected.
This film was quite interesting to me, because I am former fraternity member. I didn’t stay active too long after I joined, but I can say that I was hazed. It was nothing like we get in this film, but it is degrading regardless. The thing about it actually though, the hazing is done to make you closer with those in your class and build a bond. I’m still friends with many from my pledge class actually. I can say that we never had to go through anything like that happens in this film.
We actually get pointed out multiple times that this isn’t a normal fraternity. It is stated that they only have less than ten active members and that anyone who joins is the elite of the elite. This social club, which is what is really is, actually predates any of the fraternities that people join in college, which I found this aspect to be interesting. It actually makes it into more of a Skull and Bones type organization.
The pacing of the film is really good. The film does a good job at introducing our main characters, establishing that they are a bit weird and that they aren’t getting into any of these normal frats. I did find it interesting though that Ethan, Ben and Sam would have trouble, because they’re pretty normal looking and acting. The one I joined, we had guys from all different walks of life, so this is a bit misleading and kind of generalizing, but I won’t hold it against the film. Back to what I was saying, it doesn’t take too long to get into it and it is a whirlwind when it does. The ending I thought was kind of interesting with what happened. I didn’t mind it.
Acting for the film I thought was pretty solid as well. It is interesting that Weiner wrote this film. I do want to know if he wrote it with him in mind for the role of David or not. It kind of seems like he might have, because he was perfect for the role. He is intelligent, but awkward so I can see why he isn’t accepted. Byrd brought some comedy to his role and I thought he did a fine job. Same goes with Botello as well. I actually thought that Dalla Villa, Cowperthwaite and Pimentel play the jerks really well. They give off enough of the goodness to lure them in. They also are all quite distinct as well despite being the villains. Gallagher has a pretty cool reveal and I thought he did well along with Droulers. The girls in the film were all gorgeous and play their parts for what was needed perfectly.
The effects were something that I was pleasantly surprised by. This film has some torture in it, but not enough to go full ‘torture porn’. It did make me cringe with how realistic it looked as well. I wasn’t expecting to get practical effects, but that was definitely something that was really good. The film was shot very well also.
Now with that said, this film wasn’t great, but it definitely was pretty solid way to start off my 2019 watches. I thought the concept was interesting and something I could connect with. The acting I thought was good across the board. There is a bit of comedy mixed in which does help to alleviate some tension, but the film is paced well. The effects were really good, especially because they went practical. The score of the film really didn’t stand out, aside from the party scenes and that was fitting for the film. I would say that overall this was a good film and worth a viewing.
My Rating: 8 out of 10