INITIATION is a new horror movie with a surprisingly engaging plot. It’s a slasher and also a crime-thriller with a very real-life issue at its heart. I didn’t expect to be nearly as entertained as I was with this one. Read our full Initiation horror movie review here!

INITIATION is a new movie that spans the horror, thriller, and crime genres. I found the plot of this movie way more engaging than I ever expected. Or rather, than I believed based on the trailer, which looked OK entertaining. The heart and soul of this movie deal with some issues that have been covered in dramas as well as documentaries.

To me, the style is a straight-up slasher in the vein of Scream – though not with the same tongue-in-cheek vibe. And even more violently bloody. However, the actual storyline is more of a crime mystery that evolves as the events unfold.

Continue reading our Initiation horror movie review below.

The casting makes this story work

While fans of the One Day at a Time series will probably recognize Isabella Gomez in the trailer, she doesn’t have that much screen time. She is, however, one of the most important characters in this movie. Another familiar face is that of Froy Gutierrez from Teen Wolf, who is currently giving an amazing performance in Cruel Summer on Freeform and Hulu.

In Initiation, Isabella Gomez and Froy Gutierrez both play key characters, while Lindsay LaVanchy plays a character that ends up having more screentime and some amazing moments. I don’t remember having seen her in anything before, but she was awesome in this!

Also in the cast are Lochlyn Munro (Spiral on Shudder), the wonderful Jon Huertas (This is Us), and Yancy Butler who we haven’t seen nearly enough of since she kicked butt in Drop Zone (1994). She has been working all along, though, and has several productions coming out.

Initiation (2020) Horror Review

Watch Initiation in select theaters and on-demand!

John Berardo is the director of Initiation, which he also co-wrote with Brian Frager and co-star Lindsay LaVanchy. And yes, I feel like it actually shows that the screenplay was written by both male and female writers. It certainly weeds out the worst stereotypes. A very pleasant surprise.

The movie is inspired by John Berardo’s own 2013 short film Dembanger which starred Lindsay LaVanchy. Also, the short film actually has a poster that is very similar to that of Scream. Something I feel certain is completely intended. Check it out here on the short film’s IMDb page.

I actually put off watching the screener for this movie a bit. I really like the actors in it, but just wasn’t in the mood for more “bros before hoes” fraternity plots. Fortunately, Initiation is so much more. The guys aren’t just bad or creepy nor are the girls whiny or vapid. They actually interact and have friendships, which is a much more interesting way to tell this story.

Whether you want to watch Initiation as a slasher horror movie or for the very important plot (that features a masked avenger that kills people in a very inventive way), then be sure to check it out.

INITIATION is out in select theaters and on-demand from May 7, 2021.


Director: John Berardo
Writers: John Berardo, Brian Frager, Lindsay LaVanchy
Stars: Lochlyn Munro, Isabella Gomez, Jon Huertas, Froy Gutierrez, Bart Johnson, Yancy Butler


Whiton University unravels the night a star-athlete is murdered in the wake of a buried assault allegation, kicking off a spree of social media-linked slayings. As a masked killer targets students across campus, a trio of sorority sisters race to uncover the truth behind the school’s hidden secrets – and the horrifying meaning of an exclamation point – before they become the killer’s next victims.

I write reviews and recaps on Heaven of Horror. And yes, it does happen that I find myself screaming, when watching a good horror movie. I love psychological horror, survival horror and kick-ass women. Also, I have a huge soft spot for a good horror-comedy. Oh yeah, and I absolutely HATE when animals are harmed in movies, so I will immediately think less of any movie, where animals are harmed for entertainment (even if the animals are just really good actors). Fortunately, horror doesn't use this nearly as much as comedy. And people assume horror lovers are the messed up ones. Go figure!
Karina "ScreamQueen" Adelgaard
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