Pledge – USA, 2018

‘Few get in. None get out.’

Pledge is a 2018 American horror feature film directed by Daniel Robbins from a screenplay by Zack Weiner. The Stag Pictures production stars Zachery Byrd, Phillip Andre Botello, Aaron Dalla Villa, Cameron Cowperthwaite, Aaron Dalla Villa and Jesse Pimentel.

Plot:

Three nerdy freshmen are offered a chance to pledge what they believe is an exclusive fraternity. However, the psychotic frat boys have murder in mind…

Pledge will be released on Blu-ray and DVD by IFC Midnight/Scream Factory on April 2, 2019, via Scream Factory. The film is currently available to rent on VOD.

Reviews:

“Partying, torture, death, and dark humor makes for a fun and sometimes gruesome watch. The quick pace heightens the stakes quickly, but it also doesn’t leave any room to get to know any of the characters beyond their surface value. Ultimately, though, it succeeds in what it set out to accomplish.” Bloody Disgusting

“With a lean running time of just under eighty minutes, Pledge is paced perfectly, with many of the sequences unfolding in real time, which adds a suspenseful urgency to the film. We never know exactly what is coming next, but we have a pretty solid idea that it isn’t good…” Cinema Slasher

“With the cast and crew firing on all cylinders, Pledge is elevated and we are able to reach the (ratty) meat beneath its grotesque exterior. Because despite its sinister, sociopathic tale, the lesson of this film is that, whether we are a brain, athlete, basket case, princess or criminal, we are not so very different from one another.” Cryptic Rock

Pledge putters only rarely and only briefly. Weiner’s script gets caught cheating here and there, specifically with regard to how certain characters move in and out of various rooms at narratively convenient intervals. But really, there’s barely an ounce of fat on the film’s to-the-point 75-minute runtime.” Culture Crypt

” …the incidents that are foisted upon the unfortunate pledges go from zero to one hundred in a span of ten minutes. With something like this, you start small and let the gradual f*cked up nature spiral forth. It starts with the pledges and goes straight to bodily harm. Yes, this drops any semblance of safety for our leads, but it ramps up too quickly.” Daily Grindhouse

“With a running time of 78 minutes, Pledge removes the needless fluff of typical college films, throwing viewers directly into the dilemma of finding a renowned fraternity (or sorority) that wants you – versus an unfamiliar one that wants you too easily. With the insane incidents that happen to the guys in this film, I feared if the overall concept of this movie had ever been done for an actual pledge.” Dread Central

“What the film does well is to manage the switch between the lighthearted, comedic mood of the early scenes and the bleakness of the hazing scenes […] The Pledge doesn’t break any new ground, but it’s a solid little horror movie with plentiful unpleasantness for those who like that sort of thing, and it marks out Byrd as a talent to watch.” Eye for Film

“Director Daniel Robins expertly creates a world that seems to be inhabited only by characters from a Bret Easton Ellis novel and it’s equal parts intoxicating and nauseating. Although all of the yuppie assholes are played with just the right amount of smarm, Cameron Cowperthwaite is a standout. Add in some really cool camera work, exceptional effects and extremely cringe worthy hazing rituals and you’ve got yourself a truly fun horror film.” Lisa Fremont, Haddonfield Horror

“It’s not gore for gore’s sake as in the aforementioned Hostel, but you may need a strong constitution to last the duration […] We’ve seen hazing plenty of times in film, but never quite like this. Pledge offers a fresh spin on the horrors of pledge life through this new genre angle. This film is a bloody and brutal burst of masculinity that packs a punch.” Kat Hughes, The Hollywood News

“With solid acting from the entire cast and a terrific script from writer Zack Weiner, it’s easy to see how this film was executed so well at the hands of director Daniel Robbins. Of course it still has its flaws, but there weren’t enough to deter my overall enjoyment of the film. Horror fans will definitely want to seek this film out…” Nightmarish Conjurings

“The twists and turns are killer in this one, and the bonus is one I never saw them coming. They keep you on your feet and help the story to flow along with a crazy amount of f*cked up challenges, oodles of blood, and, of course, death. I was really impressed with this one. Pledge took me on one hell of a ride, and I never knew what was coming next.” Pop Horror

“Daniel Robbins does plenty with what some will consider a bare-bones take, evoking fear from a disgusting, morally problematic core […] Sometimes a bit generic when it comes to verbal berating, maybe not the most believable survival story at times, but for my money, a lean-mean junior feature from Mr. Robbins that easily makes the grade.” Slash Film

“These frat boys are a bad lot, and the tension Robbins builds is only compounded by the terrific turns by the cast. There is nothing more terrifying than watching people like this spiral into madness, not knowing what is next. Pledge is a cleverly-structured movie from start to finish, making this a must-see.” Kim Lo, That Moment In

Cast and characters:

  • Zachery Byrd … Justin
  • Phillip Andre Botello … Ethan – Minutes to Midnight
  • Aaron Dalla Villa … Max
  • Zack Weiner … David
  • Erica Boozer … Rachel
  • Cameron Cowperthwaite … Ricky
  • Jesse Pimentel … Bret
  • Jean-Louis Droulers … Sam
  • Joe Gallagher … Ben
  • Melanie Rothman … Stacey

Release:

Pledge had its world premiere at the Fantasia Film Festival on July 24, 2018.

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