Trailer Alert: Pledge (2019)

Scary DVDs! Woo!
Zach Weiner, Zachery Byrd, and Phillip Andre Botello want to be cool in Pledge (2019)

The pressures of college Greek pledging comes to a terrifying twist in the first big horror movie of 2019.

Being a University of Oregon graduate, seeing the landmark comedy film Animal House was essential viewing.  It was filmed in Eugene, at the fictional Faber College, but to date, it provided one of the most imprinted notions of Greek Life put to film.  The promise of popularity, sex, career connections, and the party life created a pecking order for Greek houses to draft their prospective brothers and sisters from.  However, if you are one of society’s outcasts, if you are a nerd, a fat kid, a foreigner, or of the wrong class or ethnic background, the fear is that THIS would happen to you:

Now, I was not one to go through rush, or pledging, as I opted for meeting my friends in the dorms… and well… that scene, and the need to try and be falsely cool was not in my nature.  I did not want to be subjected to a popularity contest.  I have many friends who really enjoyed being in the Greek System, but in the back of my mind, this version of Frats and Sorority houses stuck with me.

Cameron Cowperthwaite, Aaron Dalla Villa and Joe Gallagher are the frat brothers you don’t want in Pledge.

Now comes a more vicious take on the same drive to hang out with the cool kids, meet the pretty girls, and get stupid fall-down drunk. In Pledge, Justin (Zachery Byrd), Ethan (Phillip Andre Botello), and David (Zack Weiner who is also the screenwriter) find themselves on the outside looking in.  The get lured into a party by a pretty girl, and they are embraced as part of the in-crowd.  This wild party life could be theirs!

The trick is, that they have to go through the notorious hazing rituals of the fraternity system to prove themselves to the organization.  And that’s where things come off the rails.  They have been lured into a trap by a sadistic cult, and these fellas took up the bait, hook, line and sinker.  The hazing rituals become more vile and violent, and there isn’t any way out of this horrible predicament… or is there?

Ordinarily, a movie like this I would be really dubious about.  This has a bit of a Hostel feel to it, and in a major studio’s hands, this might end up something like Truth or Dare, which would be a major bummer.  But the pedigree of this film feels right.  IFC Midnight usually offers up well made, scary, and intelligent films.  It currently carries a Rotten Tomato Meter score of 83%, but with limited views… most likely from genre critics, so it probably will appeal to us, the horror movie fans.  It is also Not Rated, which suggests this won’t fall into the PG-13 trap of toothless jump scares.

Pledge is scheduled for release on January 11, 2019.  

Scariest Crew, are you going to Pledge, or pass?

As noted… I’m in for this.  The pedigree is solid, and the premise intrigues.  It has a bit of a mean Revenge of the Nerds (1984) vibe, if the nerds get to turn the table on the evil frat boys.  Or, it could be one big downer where all the nerds get left in a ditch somewhere. 

I’ll give this one a miss.  The potential for a disemboweling by rat has promise, but in the end it looks like it might be fairly standard fare torture porn with some ill-timed comedy thrown in.

Hard Pass! Frat boy torture porn is not my wheelhouse at all.

Although IFC Midnight usually picks good stuff, I can’t say this one really catches my eye. I’ll give it a resounding “meh” and maybe catch it on streaming at some point. 

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