Initiation
R2 - United Kingdom - Signature Entertainment
Review written by and copyright: Rick Curzon (30th April 2021).
The Film

Initiation sees Whiton University unravel 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.

A thought-provoking thrill ride starring Yancy Butler (Kick-Ass, Hard Target), Lochlyn Munro (The Predator, Riverdale), Jon Huertas (This Is Us), Bart Johnson (High School Musical) and Froy Gutierrez (Teen Wolf).

Video

A standard American university slasher epic set amongst the frat houses with lots of typically 21st century focus on social media technology. It uses the technique that I first saw in the BBC's Sherlock (2010-17) whereby texts and phone pics appear in midair on screen, digitally matted in amongst the actors on set. A nothing special film with largely unappealing characters and plenty of gore; it earns it's 2021 18-certificate.

Signature Entertainment in the UK have brought this slasher epic to DVD only. Being a recent film it's a digitally lensed production; lensed with RED Epic Dragon cameras with a Redcode RAW 6K master being the source. It's a good looking film with a pretty rich colour palette. Primaries are strong and flesh tones are naturalistic. There's lots of gel lighting (see the opening party scene) and although the image is soft being only in standard definition it holds up well on this disc.

Black levels are generally strong with very little unintended crush although there is the odd moment of such. Contrast is standard for modern transfers, that is to say lowkey and supportive and is punchier than most. Fine detail is limited by the DVD format, as you'd expect but it's a decent transfer and about as good as can be expected for a single layered DVD5 and the modest bitrate.

PAL / MPEG-2 / DVD5 / 2.4:1 / 93:03

Audio

English Dolby Digital 5.1
English Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo
Subtitles: None

The soundtrack is pretty standard and not terribly adventurous; remaining firmly front-centric most of the time. Surrounds are used for ambiance and score and are at there most rambunctious during party and action scenes. I heard no distortions and the volume level was adequate in that unlike several recent DVDs that I've reviewed, I didn't need to crank the volume up to have a decent listening experience. Directionality is limited but gets the job done.

Obviously the 5.1 is the way to go with stereophonic surrounds and greater depth. The 2.0 is basic stereo and only decodes as surround when channelled through my amp set to ProLogic II, Neo:6 cinema or HD-D.C.S. (Studio). Set on straight / direct / A.F.D. Auto it stays entirely in the front.

There are no subtitles of any kind so if you are hearing impaired you're out of luck.

Extras

Startup Trailer:
- Willy's Wonderland (0:57)
- Wrong Turn (1:01)
- Synchronic (1:46)


Standard promos for other Signature releases; all in 2.4:1 with Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo sound.

Packaging

Standard, black DVD Keepcase.

Overall

Solid transfer in standard definition of an unremarkable slasher epic; image and sound are decent if unspectacular with image coming out slightly stronger of the two. There are no extras to speak of, but the price on preorder is cheap. Recommended for those so inclined.

The Film: C Video: B Audio: B- Extras: E Overall: C

 


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