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Thursday, January 17, 2019

Review: Pledge

Director: Daniel Robbins
Screenplay: Zack Weiner
Year: 2019

What is a person capable to do to be part of the popular group of students at a university? According to “Pledge”, to ignore any sign of danger and risk your own life to achieve it. In “Pledge” a group of young guys reach the university and are decided to join any fraternity that will have them so that they can be around the cool kids. In this effort, they are not lucky, as they are kicked out of every fraternity they visit until they get invited to a party and to join a social club. Once they decide to join the club, they realize that the initiation process is much more intense than what they expected.

Since the very beginning, this movie has several negative details that are detrimental to its enjoyment. Something that I consider spoils a lot from the movie is the initial scene. In this scene, a young man is trying to flee from an agriculture field without much fortune, as another person catches up and kills him. A few minutes into the movie, our trio of protagonists pass through this same field while they are looking for the local of the social club that they were invited to, which quickly alerts that their stay there will not be pleasant. I consider this scene to be unnecessary and that the movie will have benefited from the uncertainty that it would have caused in the viewer if it were omitted. In the rest of the movie, there is enough effort to show us the horrible events that take place here and it is clear early on that the protagonists will not have a good time here.

The character development was awful. The villains are not intimidating at all and in too many occasions I felt they were outnumbered, like if they had no idea what they were doing. I kept expecting in a good part of the movie for the protagonists to take action and defend themselves, but this does not happen until it is very advanced, not even in a situation when they had a five on one advantage, which prevents the viewer to have any sense of danger. On top of that the three main characters, interpreted by Zachery Byrd (“Blindspot”), Phillip Andre Botello (“Funny People”) and Zack Weiner (“Uncaged”) respectively, are a combination of losers clichés that we have seen in so many movies that it is hard to sympathize with them. In particular, David is hard to stand every time he appears on the screen. Acting is decent at best, except for Byrd, which stands out from the rest of the cast with an excellent work on his interpretation of Justin, that ends up being the most believable character. None of this helps the viewer to relate with the protagonists and manages to disinterest us from their agonic stay in this place.

The most interesting part of this movie comes in the final minutes. Here the plot takes an unexpected twist that leads to the most violent scenes and an ending that screamed for a better plot development to really enjoy it. “Pledge” ends up being an enjoyable movie at most, with graphic scenes that approach the torture subgenre, which is only shily explored. Its main problem is the lack of confidence that leads its production to stay in a comfort zone that has been established by many other movies of this type and does not propose anything new, to the exception of a magnificent rat soup recipe.

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