It ain't 'Old School.' Rather than celebrate the oft-demeaning, sometimes out-of-control pledge rituals of college fraternities, indie thriller 'Brotherhood' begins with screaming, shouting and sheer panic. We're shoved blindfolded into a van along with three young pledges, who are facing the dark side of an insanely intense initiation. One by one, the pledges are given a gun and told to rob a convenience store. Very quickly, the prank goes horribly wrong, and the frat brothers careen from one crisis to the next, testing the limits of brotherly bonding as they desperately try to dodge the authorities.
'Brotherhood' won Audience Awards at SXSW and the Dallas International Film Festival last year and will be available via Video On Demand systems nationwide starting on Friday. It opens theatrically in Dallas on Friday (it was filmed nearby in Arlington) and in Los Angeles next week. The cast includes Jon Foster as the bullying frat leader (pictured above, left), Trevor Morgan as a conscience-stricken pledge (pictured above, right), Lou Taylor Pucci as a very trusting pledge, and Arlen Escarpeta as a convenience store clerk who gets caught up in the madness.
Director Will Canon, who also wrote the script with Doug Simon, insists that he doesn't have anything against fraternities. He's had friends who loved the experience and others who had the opposite reaction. "It just depends on the people," he says. Pucci relates that a lot of his friends have gone through similar experiences as those depicted in the film; one was branded by his fraternity.