INIT!ATION (2020) Reviews and release news


‘Murder is trending’

Init!ation aka Initiation is a 2020 American slasher horror film about a masked killer targeting students across a university campus.

Directed by John Berardo from a screenplay co-written with Brian Frager and Lindsay LaVanchy, the movie stars Yancy Butler (Boogey-Man; Lake Placid vs. Anaconda; Rage of the Yeti), Lochlyn Munro (The Predator), Jon Huertas, Bart Johnson and Froy Gutierrez (Teen Wolf).


Whiton University unravels on 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 races to uncover the truth behind the school’s hidden secrets — and the horrifying meaning of an exclamation point – before they become the next victims…

Reviews [click links to read more]:

“Along with the look and feel, the characters – especially the killer – will give a feeling of nostalgia. There are glimpses of the characters being more aware of their surroundings and options. The flip side is the characters seem above the odd decision making horror movies are known for.” AIPT

“Lindsay LaVanchy is a formidable presence as the determined Ellery, acting as an anchor for the audience against the film’s more grim proceedings […] Overall, John Berardo’s Initiation is an engrossing and subversive take on the slasher movie that is worth watching for its complex exploration of toxic masculinity and its charismatic lead performances.” Film Updates

“Berardo delivers classic ‘90s teen horror-comedy with today’s technology and he’s found new and exciting ways to deliver the scares.” The Geekiary

“I can’t say I really felt sorry for anyone who got brutally sliced and diced in this, to me they had it coming (it’s a movie, don’t crucify me, haha)! But there’s some pretty awesome kills and blood spill for all you gorehounds.” Pop Horror

“The film and characters remain compelling the entire time, and only keeps the viewer off guard for when the carnage resumes. When it comes to the slasher movie part of Init!ation, the kills live up to the legacy of Jason and Michael. The murders are brutal, but all human. These are killings a real person is capable of, rather than a supernatural monster.” Showbiz Cheatsheet

“Practical effects are done well enough to make you squirm, and some inventive kills are entertaining. The beginning is a little clunky, but the cast quickly settles into their roles, and the story takes hold. My one complaint with Init!ation is the ending, which is intended as a colossal gotcha and is more a huh.” Signal Horizon

Release date:

In the USA, Saban Films will release Init!ation theatrically, On-Demand and on Digital on May 7, 2021.

In the UK, Init!ation will be released on DVD and Digital platforms by Signature Entertainment on May 24, 2021.

Cast and characters:

Lochlyn Munro … Bruce Van Horn
Yancy Butler … Detective Sandra Fitzgerald
Jon Huertas … Officer Rico Martinez
Gattlin Griffith … Beau Vaughn
Froy Gutierrez … Wes Scott
Isabella Gomez … Kylie
Bart Johnson … Coach Miles Cooper
Nick Ballard … Tad Rivers
Patrick R. Walker … Malik
Kent Faulcon … Chief Adam Tahan
Mel Fair … Brett Vaughn
Jeff Willy … Investigator
Shalini Bathina … Meera Madan
Amber Pauline Magdesyan … Sorority Sister
Debra De Liso … Dana Thompson

Filming locations:

Los Angeles, California

Working title:


Trailer (US):

Trailer (UK):