Starring Aaron Jaeger, Tyson Breech, Bryan McMullin, Sasha Formoso, Burke Carter, Dominick Monteleone, James Preston, Josh Yeo, Austen Dean Jesse, Jeremy Ray Simpson, Rebecca Zoe Leigh, Arthur Roberts
Directed by David DeCoteau
Expectations: Fingers crossed it’s one of the good Brotherhoods.
On the general scale:
On the B-movie scale:
The Brotherhood VI: Initiation is the (so far) final entry in David DeCoteau’s Brotherhood series, and he really pulled out all the stops. The heartbeat is on the soundtrack, there’s a lumberjack killer, and nearly the entire cast spends most of the movie in their underwear! The film doesn’t take place in one of his trademark thunderstorms, but DeCoteau makes up for this by hosing down his underwear-clad actors, all in the name of fraternity initiation. Do real fraternities do these sorts of homoerotic initiations? They do in the DeCoteau-verse!
Depending on your tolerance for DeCoteau films, this either sounds like a good time or your worst nightmare. My love of DeCoteau’s unique brand of filmmaking is well documented here, so, of course, I thoroughly enjoyed myself. It definitely isn’t a movie I’d want to explain to someone who walked in and saw everyone getting hosed down in their underwear, but it has a charm and a feel unique to horror movies. I will always value unique expression to cookie-cutter, corporate filmmaking, no matter what the state of undress the main characters are in. Besides, most reviewers wouldn’t bat an eye if the cast was female, so I don’t feel like it should matter.
The storyline isn’t anything special, but it holds the film together well enough. A group of pledges are out in the woods at the fraternity’s ranch house, as they can no longer hold initiations on school grounds due to some legal issues or some other problem I didn’t pay attention to. Complicating matters, three years ago a pledge went missing, so the senior leader of the initiation is hoping to find some answers and put that story to rest. It is a horror movie, though, so things don’t run as smoothly as planned. Honestly, that’s already telling you too much, so if you’re interested, just watch the movie already!
I only have two complaints about the movie, and both are rather minor in the grand scheme of things. First, at 86 minutes it feels longer than it needs to be. I don’t know if it necessarily needs to be shorter; I would honestly prefer a little more intrigue. The identity of the lumberjack slasher is seemingly in question the entire film, but it ends up being a fairly predictable outcome. The way to that reveal does offer some fun narrative choices, but it definitely could have been written a little better.
My second issue is with an editing technique used throughout the film where each image quickly fades to white before cutting, all accompanied with a “slashing” sound effect. In the opening of the film, when it flashes between paddled butts, a HILARIOUS ski-masked face, hosing the dudes down, a shed in the woods, forlorn faces, and someone yelling “This isn’t a part of the initiation!”, I quite enjoyed it. The technique persists every few minutes or so, but I do have to say that by the end of the film it had come around to being fun again. Every time someone mentions the murders or says “They’re all dead!”, it would show flashed images of every murder, to the point that these flash montages would occur multiple times nearly back-to-back. The inherent comedy of that was not lost on me, so I guess ultimately this isn’t much of a complaint. DeCoteau every time I think I’m out, you keep pulling me back in.
The Brotherhood VI: Initiation is definitely not for everyone, but for DeCoteau fans it’s a great entry into the Brotherhood series. Proceed accordingly.
Next time I get around to a Full Moon movie, I’ll be checking in with Witchouse II: Blood Coven, from director J.R. Bookwalter! See ya then!