May 23, 2013

Movie Review: The Hazing

Cruising Netflix for something to watch and I stumbled across The Hazing, also known as Dead Scared. At first glance, it looks like just another low budget horror movie. You'd be right, that is exactly what it is. It is a good thing that doesn't necessarily mean bad, however, you actually need to watch the thing to find that out. It's a good thing I am here to take the bullet for you, and let you know if any of these are worth watching.

There is another reason I stopped on this movie, and it is not because it is due to expire soon (expiring movies can be the bane of my existence). It just so happens that I met one of he stars of the film, yje lovely Tiffany Shepis, and while talking about some other films, she mentioned this as one of her favorite projects. Now, having watched the movie, I do not think this is her best, but it is definitely a fun movie that manages to entertain while doing what it can to disguise is low budget roots.

The Hazing could best be described as a mash up of The Evil Dead and Night of the Demons, with perhaps a touch of Scream. It is a movie that has to rely on performance and execution as the story feels pretty familiar.

We are first introduced to Professor Kapps (Brad Dourif of Child's Play and The Lord of the Rings trilogy). He happens to possess an ancient book of spells, not unlike The Evil Dead's Necronomicon, and is using it to try and open a portal to another dimension. To that end, he is using a young female student, who is trying to seduce him for a better grade, as a sacrifice to help open the portal. It seems it is partially working, it not quite.

The scene shifts to combination frat/sorority initiation. The group of pledges are tasked with a scavenger hunt. After that task is completed, while wearing, umm, ridiculous costumes (there is something to be said about bunnies and silver bodysuits...), they are to send the rest of the night in supposedly haunted house. The house was the site of a horrific murder.

Well, one of the items on the list, of course, is the ancient spell book in the possession of Prof. Kapps. A couple of intrepid hunters enter Kapps' house and while getting the book, inadvertently kill the creepy professor. This can't be good, can it?

Back at the haunted house, things begin to happen, people begin to die and our group of pledges begin to shrink. Will they figure out what is going on or will they all get killed? Is Kapps really dead (no)? And how much fun is it to watch people get killed? (lots)

The movie does a good job at balancing the horror and the comedy. It is a pretty lighthearted film that plays a little with character stereotypes, and is simply just fun to watch. The lead female characters, Marsha (Shepis) and Delia (Nectar Rose), have some great moments that break through a few scenes of faux misogyny. In particular is Shepis' reaction when a guy says he is a man and that makes him in charge. The movie is not misogynistic, it just seems to play with some of the stereotypes of the typical male hero.

The Hazing is simply an entertaining low budget, B-grade horror movie. It does not pretend to be. Anything more than it is. It just gets together a solid cast of talent and lets them have fun with the characters. The key is to not expect greatness, expect entertainment.

This is an easy movie to ignore, it's not like you would be missing much of anything. You could consider it something of a hard sell. This is not a movie that expands the genre, it does not push boundaries, no, nothing like that. It simply exists for people to discover by simply stumbling upon it. For my money it is worth checking out. Tiffany Shepis is always a pleasant sight, she is a good actress who truly seems to enjoy working in the genre. Nectar Rose also delivers a solid performance. Parry Shen (Better Luck Tomorrow, Hatchet) is also pretty good in a supporting role. Don't expect Oscar winning work here, just good for the sort of film this is.

So, if you happen to come across The Hazing, don't fear it or dismiss it, give it a shot, you may be surprised by what you find. (a couple things you will find are a girl in a bunny costume killing things, and Tiffany Shepis in a tight silver jumpsuit)


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Cate said...

Sounds good to me!! I can't believe one I haven't seen already! Thanks for the re-cap :)

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