Whiton University unravels the night a star-athlete is murdered, kicking off a spree of social media slayings that force students to uncover the truth behind the school's hidden secrets and the horrifying meaning of an exclamation point.


John Berardo
1 nomination. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Isabella Gomez ... Kylie Martinez
Lindsay LaVanchy ... Ellery Scott
Froy Gutierrez ... Wes Scott
James Berardo ... Dylan Davenport
Gattlin Griffith ... Beau Vaughn
Adin Kolansky ... Alvin
Shireen Lai ... Shayleen Zhou
Patrick R. Walker ... Malik Moore (as Patrick Walker)
Maxwell Hamilton ... Tyler Harrington
Bart Johnson ... Coach Miles Cooper
Jon Huertas ... Officer Rico Martinez
Kent Faulcon ... Chief Adam Tahan
Yancy Butler ... Detective Sandra Fitzgerald
Lochlyn Munro ... Chancellor Bruce Van Horn
Nick Ballard ... Tad Rivers


During a university's pledge week, the carefree partying turns deadly serious when a star athlete is found impaled in his dorm. The murder ignites a spree of sinister social-media messages, sweeping the students and police into a race against time to uncover the truth behind the school's dark secrets and the horrifying meaning of a recurring symbol: a single exclamation mark. Written by Saban Films

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong bloody violence, some crude sexual content, drug use, and language throughout | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Filmmakers were so impressed with Patrick Walker, they wrote him into two more scenes. See more »


Remake of Dembanger (2013) See more »


You Know We Poppin
Written by Glenn Herweijer, Ben Sumner and Simon James
Courtesy of APM Music
See more »

User Reviews

A not-bad slasher flick with a balanced number of hits and misses! [+54%]
7 May 2021 | by arungeorge13See all my reviews

Initiation tries to blend social commentary with decently gory kills in a somewhat ambitious slasher flick. Director John Berardo (co-writing with Brian Frager and Lindsay LaVanchy, who plays the protagonist) doesn't have a complete hold over his material, however, there's just about enough for slasher fanatics to give it a viewing. The elements in favour of Initiation include its progressive storytelling approach (in the #MeToo era), the neat inculcation of social media to disclose important plot points, and at least a couple of intriguing kills. The aspects that didn't work so well include the lack of depth in the characterization of the murder victims, a not-so-effective twist, and leaving more questions open than answered in the end. Nonetheless, Initiation falls in that zone between totally forgettable and cult classic - it's a relatively safe zone as a slasher - but as a piece of cinema, its shelf life may be much less.

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Release Date:

7 May 2021 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Dembanger See more »

Filming Locations:

Los Angeles, California, USA

Company Credits

Production Co:

Shatterproof Films See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

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