I never went to college so I can’t claim to know if the events depicted in the film HAZE were realistic or not. I never wanted to go to a big university and a big reason for that decision (besides money) was the fraternity scene. Much of my disdain for the ‘frat boys’ I’m sure was partially due to stereotype but I’ll never really know if I was wrong or not. If the way fraternities are portrayed in the film are only 50% true, then maybe I wasn’t so wrong for thinking the way I do. As much as I liked the film, by the time it was over, I was pissed off.
College freshman Nick (Kirk Curran) has begun his higher education but decides the experience will be heightened if he were to join a fraternity. As he begins to pledge, he and seven other guys are put through various forms of punishment. His brother Pete (Mike Blejer) is the polar opposite. He wants nothing to do with the frat lifestyle, especially after the death of his friend the previous year as a result of hazing. Mimi, is Nick’s best friend. She’s secretly in love with him so she’ll do anything to be closer to him, even if it means she pledge a sorority. As Nick and Mimi get deeper and deeper into the Greek system, things grow very dark and maybe this life isn’t what they were hoping it would turn out to be.
HAZE is a dark and depressing film about frat/sorority traditions. It was a bit tough to find characters in the film to really care about since most of them are portrayed in such a negative light. This may be a bit exaggerated as to how things truly happen but we have all read the news stories and things like this need to stop. If anything, HAZE could help to be a wake-up call for parents sending their kids off to college. I’ve always had the perception about frat or sorority kids being rich, spoiled brats who use their clout and parent’s money to do whatever it is they want to while away at school. Turns out, I really wasn’t far off. Writer/director David Birkman does a stellar job at stirring up these angry emotions in his audience. He uses a combination of traditional storytelling while throwing in some documentary style images to help drive home just how disgusting these traditions can be. His young cast was terrific in their respective roles but one thing I would have preferred to be the film’s focus would be on the two brothers played by Kirk Curran and Mike Blejer. The movie sometimes focused too much on the hazing when I think the real story was between these two characters. Overall, HAZE is a powerful film, one which will eat away at your heart, especially if you have children.