The Hazing (2004) - Can't Stop the Movies
Can't Stop the Movies

The Hazing (2004)

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Danny LIKEThe Hazing is something special. In the vast and unending stream of no-budget, no-star horror films, it's a diamond in a shit heap.

First off, it's funny, with Evil Dead 2 callbacks and goofy humor galore. A man wielding a chainsaw attacks a demon holding an electric guitar and the two instruments colliding lead to a rocking heavy metal guitar solo. This is after we got a long montage set to a song called "The Zombie Stomp" which ends when one of the characters steals said guitar from one of the band members. Later, a signed picture of B-movie horror icon Bruce Campbell even makes an appearance.

And while goofy horror films are not extensively unusual (though well executed goofy horror films are), The Hazing has another thing going for it: the characters actually matter.

Stephen Dourif has a ball being batshit insane. In the movie, I mean.

Yes, I know, there are plenty of famous characters in horror movies. Freddy, Jason, Jason's mom, Jason's great aunt Gertrude... okay, I made that last one up, but most of the horror cannon is ostensibly focused on the murderers rather than the victims. To create a franchise, it's much easier if your killer has a great hook (like in I Know What You Did Last Summer) than if your heroine is particularly good at screaming loudly. There are plenty of women who can scream, not as many who can capture the viewer's sympathy enough to get them coming in for a sequel or two.

But The Hazing goes a different route, not just aiming for one 'Final Girl' to end the night curled up in a ball and screaming, it gives us a cast of misfits to play off each other, and more than a couple make it out alive.

Of course, once I start running down the characters, you might get a feeling of deja vu. There's a brain, an athlete, a basket case, a princess and a criminal. Yes, The Hazing is actually The Breakfast Club where half of the club gets axed by an ego maniacal demon, a vast improvement if ever there was one.

They're a little older in The Hazing and all striving to join fraternities and sororities for their own reason, but they split up to go on a scavenger hunt to gain their admittance. After the thief and basket case murder a professor performing a satanic ritual with a dead body of his own, they meet up with the others in a haunted house where they were ordered to spend the night. With the dead professor having escaped his earthly body, he decides to wreak some revenge and have a few laughs while doing so.

Perry Shen is a puss in over his head. Uh, again, in this movie.

While the film has a problematic overabundance of quick-flash scary scenes that was inexplicably popular a half a decade ago, the fun it has with its characters more than makes up for it. Stephen Dourif as the mad professor is crawling up the walls of the scenery to discover new places to chew onto. Among the club of the hunted, Perry Shen, poster boy for small independent horror movies for some reason, hits the perfect spot between frightened and adorable.

The other actors are fine, too, and most of the main cast has goofy smiles upon their face most of the time. It's not something that will keep you up at night by any means, but for what it is it does fine.

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The Hazing (2004)

This film (IMDB) is currently available on DVD.

Directed by Rolfe Kanefsky
Starring Brad Dourif and Parry Shen

Posted by Danny

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