In adapting his own short film with co-writers Brian Frager and LaVanchy, co-writer and director John Berardo is less concerned in introducing a young-leaning audience to slasher film pleasures than in introducing them to prestige thriller disturbances. I’m not sure how he and director of photography Jonathan Pope managed to create such a strong, continuously moving visual language on such a little budget, but I’m happy they did. Because of its cinematic confidence, every inch of Initiation’s wide frame is utilised with purpose, its flowing motions immersing us entirely in the action, and its jump-scares feeling truly startling and invigorating. Some of these techniques are sometimes used unnecessarily on “ IMDB
Initiation delves on a variety of modern youth culture topics in both subtle and startling ways. The inciting incident is a cruel, slut-shaming social media game played by the college’s gross frat bros, and the rest of the film finds its characters constantly engaged in their digital spaces, pulling out their phones almost as a reflex even during the most intense of scenes, without ever explicitly calling it out. The film depicts how many of us rely on continual digital conversation in about as effective a way as I’ve ever seen, by overlaying whatever they’re doing in their screenlife on the borders of the picture as their actual life plays out in front of them.