04th Aug2013

‘The Initiation’ Review [Arrowdrome]

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Vera Miles, Clu Gulager, Daphne Zuniga, James Read, Marilyn Kagan, Hunter Tylo, Robert Dowdell, Frances Peterson, Christopher Bradley, Peter Malof | Written by Charles Pratt Jr. | Directed by Larry Stewart


Like any blossoming all-American gal, Kelly is looking forward to her sorority initiation with a mixture of excitement and apprehension – and she s got every reason to be anxious considering the prank her sorority sisters have tasked her with a late-night break-in of her fathers department store. At first, it seems pretty straightforward and everything goes to plan, but once inside the mall, Kelly and her fellow pledges finds themselves locked in, and they re not alone…

Making its second appearance on DVD here in the UK (the first was an “only just better than VHS” release by Pegasus), The Initiation is one of my personal favourites from the Eighties slasher boom. Taking its lead from those slasher movies that came before it, the film is everything you’d expect from a by-the-numbers slasher: stupid and horny teenagers, an unseen killer, gratuitous nudity, some graphic killings and a typical “party” scene featuring a terrible 80s band. And its glorious!

However the cast is a little more well-rounded than your standard slasher fare, especially lead Daphne Zuniga – who had already appeared as a victim in another 80s slasher, The Dorm That Dripped Blood aka Pranks, who brings a wealth of experience to her vital role – and veterans Vera Miles and Clu Gulager, both of whom bring an air of gravitas to what is essentially a derivative slasher flick. Yet what makes The Initiation stand out, at least for me, is that it has an actual air of mystery, there’s a real question about just who the killer is and why they’re killing everyone; plus it has a much higher “creep” factor than others slashers of its ilk.

With a body count that hits double-figures, some great kills, inspired dialogue and a great double-twist ending, The Initiation is one slasher movie that doesn’t get the attention it deserves. Hopefully this new Arrowdrome release will go some way to rectifying that.

The Initiation is released on DVD on Monday August 5th.


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