Despite being a horror movie which had no marketing, and seems cheesy, Haunting on Fraternity Row is surprisingly good.
|Written By||Brant Sersen, Jeff Cahn|
|Date Released||3/1/2019 (Netflix)|
|Good If You Like||Horror Films Which Aren’t Too Gory
Horrors Which Don’t Use A Bunch of Cheap Jump Scares
|Isn’t For You If You||Like Learning A Lot About The Villain/Monster/Demon|
Haunting on Fraternity Row Plot Summary (Ending Explained on Page 2)
At Sigma Tau, their luau parties are legendary and have been the party for at least 5 years in a row. Part of the reason could be thanks to Grant, the current president of the frat, or his right-hand man Tanner who knows how to jumpstart the energy of any situation. But, before the luau begins, a room is discovered in the basement. One with a bunch of lamps, what looks like a chalice, and while the party gets started despite the strange discovery, one brother, Dougie, decides to research the house, which formerly was a hotel.
As he does his research, one of the pledges, Wiggles, is tasked with documenting the party. Leading to his camera, and the others scattered through the house, becoming one of the few witnesses to survive that night.
You Feel Invested In These Characters
One of the dangerous things about having a rather large cast, who appear to have equal footing, is that by splitting the focus so widely, you could easily lose the audience. After all, if you jump to Dougie just barely when the audience is getting a grasp on who Grant is, it can become frustrating. However, whether we’re talking about the members of Sigma Tau and their relationship drama, or plans for the future, Liza’s sorority or the KZB sorority, you get a firm enough grasp to feel something for most characters. Mind you, for some, that feeling is hoping they die, but hatred is always better than indifference.
Claire & Jason Were Cute
I can’t recall the last time there was a romance in a horror movie I felt strongly about, but Claire and Jason are an exception. While others were bumping, grinding, trying to have threeways or sex with old flames, we have these two who seem like they are in the wrong movie. For if it isn’t Jason wanting to take things slow, Claire’s past making it so she is kind of afraid to get close to anyone, paired with them enhancing the likability of each other, you hope so badly they live until the end. Maybe even get an epilogue showing him graduating med school and her doing well in politics.
I’m not sure how many of you have seen Awkward. but Molly Tarlov pretty much brings a softer version of Sadie to this movie, and while it does make her seem one note, I was here for it. If only because the whole b**** with a heart of gold persona is strangely likable. Example: Maggie is very sarcastic to most people and talks down to quite a few, even threatens violence against Dougie. However, her wanting to protect Claire, help her get some d*** and her clear attraction to Tanner, it makes you want the best for her. Heck, not only the best but you hope she survives and is the one who kills the demon.
We Don’t Get To Learn Much About The Demon’s Origins or Wiliam Sarker
While Dougie does his research and we learn Sarker is the former owner of what is now the frat, and that he allegedly killed 14 people, there isn’t much divulged beyond that. Which isn’t terrible but learning about what it is we’re supposed to fear makes things more interesting. Take Truth or Dare and how that demon was revealed or even The Nun. The more powerful and sinister the demon is made to be, the bigger the accomplishment of defeating them. Well, at least attempting to anyway. So bypassing delving into the demon’s origins and just learning the basics about Sarker sort of soured things.
On The Fence
It Isn’t Necessarily Scary
But what might be a major issue for some is this isn’t scary. It doesn’t have jump scares, is by no means a thriller, it’s just a teen movie with a monster who rips people’s eyes out – possibly as a sign he ate their souls. And while it isn’t a pretty sight, it isn’t so gory that your own eyes would start trying to pop out of your head and make a run for it.
Overall: Mixed (Divisive)
What Haunting on Fraternity Row has going for it is that its characters are probably the most engaging outside of January’s Escape Room, when it comes to the horror genre. However, even while you will get invested in the characters’ fates, the demon in question isn’t that scary, and the deaths ultimately are more so unfortunate than horrifying experiences which could give a child nightmares.
Hence the mixed label. While the Haunting on Fraternity Row has quality characters, the kind you care about the fates of, because the danger wasn’t pushed more it becomes anti-climatic after a while. Add in an ending which may likely piss you off, and it sours what could have been a decent little horror movie.