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The Initiation

41 customer reviews

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(Sep 10, 2002)
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Editorial Reviews

Gently used DVD slasher classic

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Vera Miles, Clu Gulager, Daphne Zuniga, James Read, Marilyn Kagan
  • Directors: Larry Stewart
  • Writers: Charles Pratt Jr.
  • Producers: Bruce Lansbury, Jock Gaynor, Scott Winant
  • Format: Color, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Starz / Anchor Bay
  • DVD Release Date: September 10, 2002
  • Run Time: 97 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00006FMAS
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #183,163 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Initiation" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Eric on September 10, 2002
Format: DVD
The Initiation is another one of those sorority-type slasher films where a group of girls are offed one-by-one by a deranged killer. The catch in this one is that it's set in a huge department store. Fun times? You bet, well, at least once they get into that store. Before that, this one's a snoozer.
The opening does set up an intriguing premise, with Daphne Zuniga constantly having a dream in which she's a young child watching her father fighting another man. After that, the film bogs down quite a bit with repetitive hypnosis scenes, and at least one of the twists involving her dreams is entirely predictable, so for the first half, the film hasn't done much at all.
But then, cut to the second half, once the girls break into the department store, and are knocked off one-by-one by the killer, and the film suddenly turns from sluggish to suspenseful. The kill scenes are built up quite well with plenty of blood, there are a few good jump-in-your-seat shocks, and it's nice to see I couldn't quite guess who would die in what order. The huge mall works extremely well in the movie's favor, making for a fairly complex setting in which the killer could be hiding anywhere.
There are even two scenes of gratuitous nudity, provided by none other than goregous soap star Hunter Tylo (credited here as Deborah Morehart), who happens to look even hotter now then she did 18 years ago! Unfortunately, the film stars Daphne Zuniga, who makes for a very flat heroine. I've heard many describe her as a talented actress, but I just don't see it. The rest of the performances are pretty standard, not even Vera Miles or Clu Gulager stand out.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Tony R. Tucker on April 12, 2004
Format: DVD
The Initiation should be a horrible movie, but for some reason it isn't. The whole is better than the parts. We have all the stereotypes, we have college kids, angst-ridden wealthy kids, recurring nightmares, and big fat flopping red herrings. There's also some pretty borderline acting, even from people you have actually heard of.
So why four stars? The movie just works for some reason. Somehow the blantant red herrings, in-your-face clues, etc still leave you surprised when the "shocking" twist ending is revealed. Or, maybe I am just an idiot... but all the people I have watched it with never saw it coming either.
Half of the movie takes place in a huuuuuge mall at night. The mall provides endless hiding spaces for the killer (or killers?) to wait and pounce from. The gore effects are really top notch. The attacks come quickly and viciously and look quite real. Even though the mall is huge, there is a claustrophobic feel since the principle characters are locked in without a real way of getting away from their attacker.
Veteran actors Clu Gulager and Vera Miles add some weight to the light, early career performances of Daphne Zuniga (Spaceballs, The Sure Thing, Melrose Place), Hunter Tylo (The Bold and the Beautiful), and brief talkshow host Marilyn Kagan.
The DVD I bought was the Initiation-only version whose only feature was a theatrical trailer. There is now a double-feature DVD that contains The Initiation AND The Mountaintop Motel Massacre. I haven't seen that movie, but you might as well buy it instead and get an extra movie out of the deal. You certainly won't be sacrificing any special features. But, again, this movie is good. There are lots of things to pick it apart over, but as a whole, it delivers.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By mmareptile on July 8, 2015
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Great slasher flick. Like the title said if you are a fan of older slashers films from the 80's and 70's this movie will not disappoint. If you are fans of the original sorority row,the burning, the intruder or hell night then i think you will enjoy this flick.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Tom P. the Underground Navigator on August 8, 2010
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Though the slasher film wave had largely petered out by 1984, there were still some entries at the tail end of the era that carried on the torch (of a form that would prove to never completely die and would even experience a regeneration of interest much later on in the '90s).

One example that I feel is somewhat underrated is Larry Stewart's "the Initiation" (filmed in 1983; released '84). It stars a very young Daphne Zuniga in an early film appearance as a college freshman sorority pledge who agrees to sneak into and spend the night with her cohorts and their boyfriends in a huge multi-floored Texas shopping center after hours and closing time. Unbeknownst to them, a killer is locked in there with them and proceeds to pick them off one by one, in a film that has all the slasher conventions of the past present and yet is relatively well acted, directed, and stylishly executed.

There is an interior subplot regarding the recurring dreams Daphne's character is having, of a brutal childhood murder, and while some have said the first hour drags on too long, at least it makes this one different than your average run of the mill slasher, a form of which audiences had grown increasingly tired with by this time.

Back to the slasher conventions, there is some good gore here and a couple of really choice scenes of requisite female nudity (one briefly full frontal to boot), including a really welcome scene of some hot sorority babes showering. In addition, good use is made of the confining environment of the setting and I thought the mall after hours with the lights out was quite creepy looking. Particularly effective is the scene where one of the victim's screams are captured over the mall's P.A. system, which I felt was a nice original touch.
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