The Hazing (2004)

Directed By: Rolfe Kanefsky
Written By: Rolfe Kanefsky
Starring: Brad Dourif
  Tiffany Shepis
  Parry Shen
  Nectar Rose
The Hazing

The Hazing (a.k.a. Dead Scared) is silly, gory, knowingly crap and lots and lots of fun. Five College students in the process of pledging a fraternity/sorority are given the task of a treasure hunt followed by a night in the supposedly haunted ‘Hack House‘. Should they survive the night, they will be accepted members of Sigma Si and Delta Pi. Unfortunately, Brad Dourif, in the guise of the evil Professor Kapps, complicates matters when two of the pledges break into his house in order to steal an ancient book of incantations that he is rumoured to be in possession of. When they inadvertently stumble upon his cellar, full of artefacts and dead bodies, they accidentally injure him during a scuffle, then flee the scene. From his hospital bed, the professor then chooses to possess one of the group in order to kill the others, retrieve his book and complete his dastardly ritual.

Rolfe Kanefsky, who both wrote and directed The Hazing, graduated from Red Shoe Diaries-esque soft porn flicks to bargain bucket B grade horror but actually manages to make The Hazing surprisingly watchable. It helps that Tiffany Shepis (who is a serious contender for hardest working woman in horror, with 28 separate titles due out in the remainder of 2009 and 2010!) makes for a sexy and savvy ‘scream queen‘ and leads a cast of competent relative unknowns.

It’s hard to figure out whether The Hazing is derivative of the Evil Dead films or just one giant love letter to Sam Raimi’s seminal trilogy. The makers are never shy about the origin of their ideas though, with obvious indications like scenes that feature a shop window showcasing Bruce Campbell’s autobiography and a dart board with Campbell’s face on it. Even the Deadites and the Necronomicon are there in all but name and there is a similarly sick humour, albeit a little more juvenile here, running throughout.

The Hazing is probably most notable for housing some of the most sensible and practical horror movie protagonists in recent memory. Not once did I want to reach into the screen and strangle them for their poor decision making as with most modern horrors. Instead, they were a self aware bunch of strangely likeable characters that provided the audience with plenty of reasons to cheer for their survival.

Aside from some astonishingly terrible but mercifully brief instances of CGI and some wavering English accents, there is actually a lot to enjoy in The Hazing, particularly for fans of fun, straight-to-DVD B-Movies. It ticks all the boxes, featuring nubile young women baring their breasts, gore galore and some very, very silly but genuinely funny humour. The makers certainly know exactly how to please their target audience and they deliver it all in spades. It’s not a great film but it’s certainly not a bad one and it’s definitely deserving of a cult following on DVD.

Rating: ★★★★★½☆☆☆☆

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