In this movie, one of the biggest highlights in America is happening right now at a university campus- pledge week! During this week, young people attending university accept challenges to prove their worth, drink heavily and party. It’s evident that social media is an important part of young adults lives, and a new trend with exclamation marks on selected images links to secret meanings. During one of the parties, an incident leaves one woman questioning what happened to her while she was in a room with two men and heavily intoxicated. After this, another tragic event occurs, and a young athlete is found dead in his dorm by his fellow roommates. Soon a killer is roaming around the university, killing various people, but the question remains, who is the killer and what is the motive for the kills?
Initiation might seem similar to many slashers from the nineties, such as Scream. However, the film introduces several elements, such as modern technology, to make it feel different and more engaging instead of just another typical slasher. The film is smart and highly creative as it shows viewers what characters are doing and looking at with their smartphones. Throughout, we see how the characters use social media platforms even when they are at a social event such as a party.
The opening certainly introduces multiple plot points, which all tied in quite nicely as the film progressed. Naturally, the core of the plot is the unknown killer roaming around the university, and the deaths are all shocking, bloody and horrific. Ellery (Lindsay LaVanchy), a likeable lead character, is at the centre of the many mysteries in this film. Throughout the movie, she attempts to solve her friend’s possible sexual assault and find the truth behind the serial killer.
The mysteries presented at the start, including that of the unknown killer, kept my interest while watching. The reveals were unpredictable, including the major reveal towards the finale, which was rewarding and surprising. While the major reveals are pleasant, the general ending is certainly abrupt and somewhat rushed.
Overall, I quite enjoyed this film. Instead of being just another slasher, the film successfully introduces new elements such as technology. It introduces multiple mysteries that I found to be rather unpredictable, and the reveals felt satisfying. It certainly takes a little while to get going, but I was invested once several mysteries were outlined. The ending is also pleasing, but I can’t deny that it felt somewhat abrupt and rushed. Either way, I still would class this film as a hidden gem and it comes recommended to lovers of slashers such as Scream.