Directed by Daniel Robbins and written by Zack Weiner
Starring Zachery Byrd (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Mr. Robot, Weight), Phillip Andre Botello (Funny People, Criminal Minds, Road Wars), Zack Weiner (My Unacceptable Addiction, The Convenient Job, Uncaged), Aaron Dalla Villa (Duels, Lost Cat Corona, Chasing Gold), Cameron Cowperthwaite (American Horror Story: Cult, Feud, The Deuce) and Jesse Pimentel (All About Evil, Messina High, Resident Evil 7: Biohazard).
A group of college freshmen pledge an exclusive fraternity but soon realize there's more at stake than they could have ever imagined.
If you have ever gone to college or university, you should be very aware of the social gatherings which take place in and around campus. These soiree’s are typically run by and loaded with the upper echelon of the most prominent, fashionable and attractive people attending the school in question, typically leaving out those whom would be referred to as the nerds, geeks or losers in a social setting. Having been on the opposite of the “in-crowd” throughout most of my time in school, I took to making my own plans on most weekends (typically hanging out with buddies and watching horror flicks) while others in my circle of friends would desperately try to make their way into these randomly planned events.
This scenario on its own is one of the reasons why the set up for “Pledge” works out so perfectly. They’ve taken multiple aspects of a real life series of scenarios in which not everybody would be familiar with first hand and puts an entertaining spin on it, both comedic and from a horror aspect.
Following a group of “losers” trying to make their way into various parties, all of which are hosted and attended by the more popular college students, the trio of very relatable and mostly lovable rejects run into a young lady who offers them a place to party, one where they will be accepted without question. After some convincing, the boys make their way to the address provided, only to find a beautiful home filled with attractive women ready to party. The party host graciously invites them in with offers of drinks, marijuana and more. Once the party is over, they are invited over the following evening for something a little different. A frat house style hazing.
The script is able to take a fairly realistic concept (depending on your personal experiences throughout your life) and put it into play, trapping the three leads into the home for the night where they inevitably get tortured, abused and possibly murdered.
It plays out exceptionally well as most of the scenes are based out of realism and are all things that could potentially play out in a true to life scenario, this includes the kills which were never far fetched by any means.
For the most part, Pledge seems to be very original and although some of the scenes were practically carbon copies of other films I’ve seen over the years, it was still very fresh, exciting and entertaining throughout the entirety of its runtime. The biggest thing that the film has going for itself is they ending which they chose to go with. This ending was something you wouldn’t see very often in any other feature film but one that I’ve always wanted to see played out in one way or another.
The sound / music didn’t have anything that overtly popped out at me. It sounded good, they had the proper stuff playing throughout various scenes in order to aid in setting the proper tone but what really elevated the film was it’s cinematography.
The shots used were good but what really sold me on everything happening was the use of darkened colours which truly elevated the creepiness factor from scene to scene. When the boys were in a dire situation, the scenes lighting would typically be much darker while something along the lines of being at a party, having fun or even having the upper hand in any given situation, the scenes would seem lighter than any other.
Overall, this was really a film I could see myself watching another handful of times in the upcoming years. The realism is there, the characters were realistic, intelligent and fairly skilled in what they need to do in order to survive the night.
My only legitimate complaint I have about the film would the the character of David whom is played by the films writer, Zack Weiner. The character was incredibly desperate for attention, popularity and acceptance that he quickly used these attributes to lead his friends into a boatload of trouble. I understand that this was a required factor in order to move the story along to where the characters needed to be but David’s antics became annoying rather quickly as he attempted to defend the attackers from his friends criticisms.
Once again, I understand that you aren’t going to change a characters mentality with the flick of a switch, especially when they’re in a panicked mood but with that said, I appreciate Weiner’s writing abilities and his common sense of keeping the character the same throughout the runtime of the film.
Overall Rating: 7/10
This week on Beyond The Void Horror Podcast We finally finished off The Howling franchise with parts 7 & 8. One of these is probably one of the worst movies ever made. Don’t worry we soaked our childhood in gasoline and lit a match just for you. So that you don’t have to suffer through it. It was a lot of fun. It’s a big week and you are invited! You can listen here or you can Listen/Subscribe on iTunes here!