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Film Review

INITIATION (2021) Review

Dave reviews Signature Entertainment’s INITIATION calling it the “perfect mix of gore and suspense.”



Initiation (Signature Entertainment)

Directed by John Berardo, Initiation stars Bart Johnson (High School Musical) , Yancy Butler (Kick-Ass, Hard Target), Lochlyn Munro (The Predator, Riverdale), Jon Huertas (This Is Us) and Froy Gutierrez (Teen Wolf), Initiation was written and directed by John Barardo. Signature Entertainment presents Initiation on Digital Platforms & DVD 24th May.


Sex, drugs and cyber-bullying collide in this edgy slasher about a cruel social media game that spins out of control. Initiation sees Whiton University unravel on the night a star-athlete is murdered in the wake of a buried assault allegation, kicking off a spree of social media-linked slayings. As a masked killer targets students across campus, a trio of sorority sisters races to uncover the truth behind the school’s hidden secrets — and the horrifying meaning of an exclamation point – before they become the next victims.


Normally I try to avoid the stereotypical American high school horror film with it’s standard characters and storyline. On first glance Initiation certainly looks like it will be another of those films. But, similarities aside, Initiation is an enjoyable watch with a decent storyline and just the right amount of gore.

Although the film starts off with a bit of a predictable storyline, frat party gone wrong, you know the type of thing? But as the moves along you start to see the twists and turns and the story take a far more interesting turn. Barardo brings the story to life by dropping in certain clues as to who the killer could be and you begin to make your own judgements adding a bit of murder mystery to the mix, although if you are like me you’ll probably change your mind throughout the film.

As the killer’s attacks get more frenzied the level of Horror certainly gets cranked up which for me certainly saves the film from becoming overly cheesy. I particularly enjoyed the level of gorey detail it really adds to the overall intense feeling if the film as it takes a more darker turn.

As the serial killer takes more lives in more terrifying ways the film really starts to crank up and get alot more interesting, you do forgive the slightly cheesy and predictable acting as the action is pretty much on point, with the killer using ingenious ways to kill using household power tools (I’ll let you see that for yourself) you keep second guessing yourself as to who is the killer with the way the film keeps giving you different discreet clues to keep you guessing, I changed my mind a few times towards the end and when the killer is finally revealed I literally had no idea it was that character but kicked myself as all the clues were there all along.

John Barardo has done a great job taking the teen horror genre forward to the next level with this film, with the ending maybe pointing to a sequel which I would be interested to see. The overall casting is good with no big names to take big names to take the shine off the others, Lindsay LaVanchy plays a great grief stricken sister as she struggles on with life after the death of her brother, like I previously stated some cheesy bits of acting at times but overall a good performance from the cast.


A good overall watch with some good moments that make you squirm, just the perfect mix of gore and suspense to keep you engaged, a recommendation for any slasher fans.

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