PLEDGE

PLEDGE

(director: Daniel Robbins; screenwriter: Zack Weiner; cinematographer: William Tracy Babcock; editor: Nik Voytas; music: Jon Natchez; cast: Zachery Byrd(Justin), Phiiip Andre Botello (Ethan), Aaron Dalla Villa(Max), Zack Weiner (David), Cameron Cowperthwaite (Ricky), Jesse Pimentel(Bret), Joe Gallagher (Ben), Jean-Louis Droulers (Sam), Erica Boozer (Rachel); Runtime: 77; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Mark Rapaport, Keaton Heinrichs, Akira Nemetsky; IFC Midnight; 2018-Poland-in English)

 

“As nauseating as digesting rat soup.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

An unconvincing low-budget misanthropic shocker on the extremes of fraternity hazing. The twisted humor was a turn off, as its edgy satire never fully kicked in to show its social relevancy.

Though director Daniel Robbins (“Uncaged”/”The Convenient Job”) and writer Zack Weiner effectively entertain with a manipulative sense of horror over their excessive hazing story–something that has made a few serious headlines in recent times in the real-world–the film never made me care for anyone involved.

During Rush Week three dorky freshmen friends are tricked into believing their invite to join an elite fraternity, “The Krypteia,” is legitimate, after every other frat has turned them down. The hazing will be sadistic, which doesn’t seem to daunt the losers. The misfits are Ethan (Phillip Andre Botello), David (Zack Weiner, the screenwriter), and Justin (Zachery Byrd). Incredibly a hot babe, Rachel (Erica Boozer), at the urging of the Greek brothers, invites the trio to a party at a secluded mansion. The schleps are greeted by three of the power-house Krypteia brothers-the good cop Ricky (Cameron Cowperthwait), the bullying pint-sized bad cop Max (Aaron Dalla Villa) and the psycho Bret (Jesse Pimentel). The brothers get them to pledge to their frat (really a social club) realizing that they plan to torture them mentally, emotionally and physically for the next 48 hours until they break. It was hard to believe anyone, especially college students with at least some smarts and a spine, would subject themselves to such abusive treatment without realizing they were being played. This made the depraved pledging ritual by the shadowy social club a mean-spirited exercise that I lost interest in long before the vics started fighting back. When the sicko brothers get the urge to kill their pledges when they want out, the gross comedy and the dumb narrative reached a point as nauseating as digesting rat soup–something they were asked to digest.

Aaron Dalla Villa, Jesse Pimentel, and Cameron Cowperthwaite in Pledge (2018)

REVIEWED ON 3/1/2019 GRADE: C   https://dennisschwartzreviews.com/