The Brotherhood IV: The Complex (2005)

Starring Sebastian Gacki, Graham Kosakoski, April Telek, Aleks Holtz, Brody Harms, Brett Viberg, Adam Dodds, Andrew Butler, Emrey Wright, Mike Cleven, Charlie Marsh, Matts Aasen, Chad Rook

Directed by David DeCoteau

Expectations: Hope it’s not like the 3rd one.

On the general scale:

On the B-movie scale:


On one hand, The Brotherhood IV: The Complex is derivative of the original film, albeit with less interesting characters and milder sexual energy. But on the other hand, it hits all the notes I want out of a Brotherhood sequel, and it does it with style, methodical pacing and a healthy dose of dudes running around in their underwear. DeCoteau may have been off his game for The Brotherhood III, but he came back with a vengeance for the 4th entry. The Brotherhood IV: The Complex is a solid, well-told film about homoerotic Naval cadets, and who doesn’t want to see a film like that?

As is standard for the Brotherhood films, a new kid comes to school and is immediately singled out by the resident brotherhood: the Black Skulls. They are a long-running secret society founded at Port Nathan Naval Academy (AKA The Complex) and rumored to exist in small groups around the world. I’m not sure how true these rumors are, though, since we see a list of the group’s alumni and it’s literally no more than 8–10 people. 🙂 Anyway, Lee Hanlon (Sebastian Gacki) arrives at school a few days after a student has gone missing. The faculty can’t explain his disappearance, but it is the subject of the film’s prologue, so we know that he was consumed in a flurry of lightning while pledging the Black Skulls.

Lee spends a good part of the movie trying to figure out the secret of the Black Skulls, but he’s never attempting, or even tempted, to join them. This sets Brotherhood IV apart from its brethren, and I found it to be a nice touch. Lee is supposed to be a ridiculously smart kid, so to see him stay above the machinations of the villains felt like a good representation of his character. Further along this line, it’s not even completely clear that Victor Thanos (Graham Kosakoski), the current leader of the Black Skulls, has singled Lee out for possible recruitment. I got more of a hunter/prey vibe, but unless I missed something I don’t think they ever fully explained themselves. All I know is that we see a couple of dudes pledge the group through a ritual of underwear, fingerpainted pentagrams and candles, while Lee is instead taken to a dream orgy. Like I said, who knows. Just go with it and enjoy!

I mentioned it before, but it bears repeating: if you’re a fan of DeCoteau’s trademark “dudes in underwear,” then The Brotherhood IV: The Complex will not disappoint. Well, it shouldn’t, because of the volume of underwear on display, but I suppose I shouldn’t guarantee anyone’s enjoyment. 🙂 Anyway, the first set of boxer briefs pops up roughly 30 seconds into the movie, and it is definitely a sign of things to come. For me, the best bit was when an underwear guy gets out of the pool and coyly sashays down the hallway to investigate a noise. He’s scared of what the noise might be, but not too scared to look unfashionable!

The Brotherhood films are definitely not going to satisfy all viewers, but The Brotherhood IV: The Complex is easily one of the best entries. It’s not quite as entertaining as the original, and it doesn’t have anything close to the pool scene of the sequel, but it does have a great mythology for the Black Skulls and some very enjoyable lightning. I try to stay away from any real spoilers, especially for this sort of thing, but anyway, there’s a reveal as to where the lightning has been coming from throughout the film and it had me in tears of laughter. One of the best B-Movie ideas I’ve seen in some time; I can’t say that it makes much sense, but it was definitely a lot of fun!

If you consider yourself a fan of David DeCoteau, this is a must-see.

Next time I get around to a Full Moon movie I’ll be watching the Moonbeam flick The Werewolf Reborn! See ya then!

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