Deadline is reporting that Saban Films have acquired the North American rights for John Berardo’s horror crime thriller Initiation.
Inspired by Berardo’s short film, the film is being described as a slasher film about a cruel social media game that spins out of control, which sees Whiton University unravel on the night a star-athlete is murdered in the wake of a buried assault allegation, kicking off a spree of social media-linked slayings. As a masked killer targets students across campus, a trio of sorority sisters races to uncover the truth behind the school’s hidden secrets, and the horrifying meaning of an exclamation point, before they become the next victims.
John Berardo released a statement saying:
We hope that the film’s topical themes and innovative portrayal of social media resonate with the cultural zeitgeist to create a thought-provoking thrill ride that will appeal to digital natives and genre fans alike. Initiation pays homage to the 90s horror classics I grew up on, but with a modern take for today’s socially conscious generation. We’re thrilled to partner with Saban and XYZ Films, both huge forces in the genre space.
Saban Films’ Bill Bromiley added:
John has created a frighteningly realistic horror that will have audiences watching with bated breath. Initiation is the latest addition to our growing catalogue of genre films, and we’re excited to provide a platform and audience for it.
The film is written by John Berardo, Brian Frager and Lindsay LaVanchy, and stars Lochlyn Munro, Isabella Gomez, Jon Huertas, Froy Gutierrez, Bart Johnson and Yancy Butler. Berardo and Frager produced the project alongside LaVanchy, JP Castel, Jon Huertas, Stephanie Stanziano, Artisan Post Group and Malsons Media.
XYZ Films are handling international rights at the Cannes virtual market.