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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
Daphne Zuniga stars as a sorority pledge whose usual college problems are magnified by a long history of recurring nightmares. Her parents assure her the dreams are nothing to be afraid of, but our heroine is determined to make peace with her inner demons and put the strange nightmare behind her once and for all. Meanwhile an unknown stalker is hunting her family and friends, and everything comes to a head in a shopping mall after hours from which the killer is determined no one will escape.
THE INITIATION is fairly well-written and directed, with a strong cast (including Clu Gulager and Vera Miles) and some highly effective murder sequences. Though not as bloody as some other slasher films, the movie still packs a visceral punch, and the suspense factor is high as well. The young people who make up most of the film's cast are for the most part quite likable, except for the sorority queen and her drones, so that when they are in danger the viewer really feels it. The lovely Daphne Zuniga does a fine job in her first big feature role, but she gets some surprisingly strong support from her co-stars, including the stunningly beautiful Hunter Tylo (here acting under the name Deborah Morehart). The thrills culminate in a feverish climax with more than one big reveal.
Again, THE INITIATION isn't a horror classic, but it is a solid slasher that hits all the right notes and benefits from a relatively ambitious script which incorporates both mystery and solid characterization. Definitely among the top tier of films in the slasher canon.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Seen this when it first came out and wanted to rent it. It was goodPublished 1 month ago by pamela5366
I highly recommend this slasher entry for fans of the genre! This one has an interesting premise and surprising revelation at the end of the film. Read morePublished 5 months ago by John D. Seneca
makes one wonder if this really does occur in colleges. scary and well potrayed. great acting for a change.Published 6 months ago by Carole
Again the killer in the mall, the killer in the woods, they just don't make them like this anymore.Published 7 months ago by donald taber
One topless and one full frontal. Real breasts and not bald.Published 13 months ago by Amazon Customer