The Sorority (2006)

DVD Cover (York Entertainment)
Genres: Horror, Supernatural Horror
A small college town is gripped in terror: Coeds are being found burned alive. A student discovers that the hottest sorority on campus is actually a coven of devil worshipers. Before she can alert the authorities, she is killed by the Satanic witches. At the student s graveside her sister vows revenge. Hunter becomes hunted as she fights her way through a maze of Satanic rituals, murder, date rapists, beheadings, lesbianism and black magic in her quest for vengeance. --Amazon
Bodie Norton Bodie Norton
April Cook April Cook
Deirdre Kristen Williams Deirdre Kristen Williams
L. Michael Burt L. Michael Burt
Grindl Lamon Grindl Lamon
Peter Washington Peter Washington

3.5 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Review by Chad
Added: October 19, 2006
You know, the market for direct-to-video vampire flicks has been absolutely flooded over the last couple of years, and honestly, why wouldn't it be? Horror is an easy genre to tackle for new directors working on modest budgets (although few get it right), and out of all of the various subgenres of horror, the vampire flick has to be the easiest. You purchase a few pairs of fangs, get a couple of friends together, squirt some fake blood around the set, and a film is in the can. Throw an attention-getting cover on it, circulate a trailer containing all of the money shots, and you have a film that'll very likely surpass its budget in the rental market. This is the type of movie that I expected to receive when I was asked to review this film, but you know that saying about not judging a book by its cover? Indeed, that adage definitely applies here.

The movie begins with a young lady investigating what appears to be some sort of cult gathering, a gathering that involves a scantily-clad and screaming woman being tied down. I'll leave the rest of the scene as a surprise for you first-time viewers, but it culminates in the investigator winding up on the wrong end of a noose. This brings us to Isabel (April Cook), a young lady who just so happens to be the sister of the woman who, according to police, committed suicide by hanging herself. This explanation doesn't satisfy Isabel, as she feels that her sister was not the type of person to go through with such an act, so she decides to follow in her sister's footsteps at this college to see if it turns up any clues as to what really happened.

During her investigations, she encounters a professor named Dr. Drake (Peter Washington) who happens to be more than just a little on the crazy side, and she also meets a soon-to-be love interest named, interestingly enough, California (L. Michael Burt). Both of these men are suspects (one to her and the other to us watching at home), and of course, there's the little matter of a college sorority that is eagerly recruiting the new enrollees in some very "persuasive" ways. Who is ultimately responsible for her sister's death and why are both answered in due time, but you'll just have to pick this one up for the answers.

So then, what was all of that about not judging a book by its cover? Well, when I saw the DVD cover that York Entertainment slapped on this film, I thought "Oh, the sorority members are vampires, that's the story here" and I wasn't too terribly impressed. I was warned by - well, to avoid getting anyone in trouble, I'll just say "someone involved with the movie" - that York put a cheesy cover on this release, but at the time, I didn't realize how true that statement was. Want to know why? This movie does not involve or contain vampires. Yes, there is some sort of demonic presence involved (I won't reveal who or what), but it's certainly not the Gothic-loving mansquitos that I've grown to hate over the last couple of years. Honestly, had I seen this sitting on a shelf somewhere, I would have passed over it thanks to the cover alone; I'm that sick of vampires, and I'm certainly not alone in that sentiment. York, are you listening?

Alright, so the cover is very misleading - how about the movie contained within? Well, it actually turned out to be quite good, especially considering that it was shot on a budget of only $700. The amount of money thrown at a film has no bearing on the overall results, that's a given, but when the entire product was made on a budget that I could go to the bank and withdraw from my checking account, well... let's just say that I wasn't expecting a cinematic masterpiece. Some of the cast members could have done with some coaching (nobody was horrible, but a few people could have done their scenes over again) and a couple of the special effects could have used some work (the physical stuff was great, but the computer generated stuff - not so), but overall, this film far surpasses its $700 budget in both style and the overall feel of things.

The storyline, the thing that should be the main focus for directors working on a limited budget, is the true star of the film. There have been many times where I've watched films from inexperienced directors that contained storylines that obviously served nothing more than to set up the next gore sequence or the next sex scene. While both of those aspects of a film are highly welcome, I personally don't hand out high ratings for things like "that decapitation was sweet!" or "those tits, man, I tell you what..." - it's the storyline and how it plays out that bumps up that rating. In this regard, the film worked. While there's nothing terribly original in the script (although, when it comes to horror, what is?), it's more than sufficient to keep the movie entertaining for the ninety minutes and change that it runs for. It's also allowed to be the main emphasis of the film; while there are some gore sequences (the "pencil" and "flag" scenes were particularly good), you never feel like the director is just using this story as an excuse to show off some blood. And you know what? I mentioned that it's nothing terribly original, but it's strong enough to carry this movie from start to finish.

Don't be fooled by the cover - this is not another direct-to-video vampire flick that serves as nothing more than yet another stake in the heart of the subgenre. If you're looking for a horror film that hearkens back to the eighties style of doing things (good versus evil with casualties along the way), pick this one up when it streets in December. It won't become a late entry in any year-end top ten lists, but it's certainly a highly enjoyable film nonetheless. 7/10.
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