Synopsis: When a gang initiation goes horribly wrong, a group of young men must try and survive the night from hell in this tensely gripping thriller. Told that they must commit an armed robbery before being allowed to join an elite ‘Brotherhood’, one young student ends up involved in a fire fight. Slowly bleeding to death and with the police closing in, his friends take desperate steps to cover their tracks. With every step, they are drawn further into a darker and more violent world where right and wrong cease to have any meaning. As the hours pass, their methods of suppressing the truth become more and more brutal. Disaster beckons at every turn but with the promise of parties where anything goes and nothing is forbidden, the only question is…how bad do you want in?
“Hazing” – a series of tests, some dangerous, some fun and some downright dumb for a group of prospective “pledges” poised to be accepted into the Sigma Zeta Chi frat-house. Rituals designed to test, break and challenge every kind of college student, whose sole goal is to be accepted into the American idea of an elite college fraternity-house. A foreign concept to us Brits who are so far removed from this kind of “jock” culture, but Director Will Canon gives us a chilling glimpse into the pitfalls and perils of the lengths some will go to to be accepted into this asinine idea of “brotherhood”.
This is the anti-American Pie movie. From the get-go, Brotherhood shocks you into submission as you watch the new pledges faced with the ultimate do or die challenge. Trapped in the back of a van, Kevin (Lou Taylor Pucci), Adam (Trevor Morgan) and the other frat boys are faced with the harrowing dilemma of each having to rob a gas station at gunpoint. In honour of the 1910 Sigma Zeta Chi society’s foundation date, the pledges must steal $19.10 in order to fulfill ringleader Frank’s (Jon Foster) wishes and be accepted into the fold. Of course things don’t go as planned, as the group accidentally stop at the wrong gas station where everything that could go wrong, does go wrong. I’m not going to reveal the outcome of this botched robbery, because the rest of the story is filled with so many unexpected twists and turns, that it would be a disservice to the viewer to continue.
This highly suspenseful, edge of seat story unravels in ways you just don’t see coming. It reminded me a little of Paul Walker’s ‘Running Scared’ – hard-hitting, spiralling out of control, ricocheting camerawork etc. The pace here is breath-takingly fast and brilliant, always moving from one crisis to another and always creating a sense of urgency.
It’s chillingly dark, designed to shock and it does so superbly. Things never slow down long enough to take a moment to absorb the series of bad choices being made. It’s exhausting to watch and you find yourself wondering how on earth things can get any worse, and how things can possibly be put right. The conflicts faced, the intention behind decisions made, the outcome of taking things into your own hands… every desperate action has a nightmarish consequence in this hazing coming-of-age thriller.
The writing is choice and deservedly won the Audience Award at the 2010 SxSW Festival. This is a fantastic effort by Will Canon and in terms of the dialogue, it’s punchy, ultra-violent and brisk narrative only heightens the suspense during this consistently intense thriller. With strong acting performances all-round, Brotherhood is a ferociously energetic directorial feature debut. Unlikely to appeal to high-brow critics, the best way to enjoy this 77 minute strong, adrenaline-pumping, spiralling out of control, implausible event-filled moral thriller-coaster ride, is to just take a deep breath, hold on tight and let go of all doubt and disbelief.
There’s only one story. Are you with us or against us?
Brotherhood has a run time of 77 minutes and is rated 18.
DVD Bonus Material Includes:
“Roslyn” Short Film
Behind the Scenes
Brotherhood Photo Gallery