A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this revamped remake of a 1978 TV horror flick comes with a "viewer discretion" warning for good reason. The plot's eerie focus on witchcraft and human sacrifice (for the continued existence of evil witches) mixed with disturbing scenes of victims begging for their lives as they're chained to a sacrificial table is too much for kids -- even some younger teens. Violence is prevalent and includes two stabbings, some attempted strangulations (from afar, by magic), a fire started in a dorm room, and a few spell-casting exchanges. And if that's not enough, most of the characters are superficial, conniving coeds who see being in a "good" sorority as the ticket to their eternal popularity -- which seems to be the main purpose of their college life.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Twins Lindsey and Sarah arrive at Temple Hill University, and, as double legacies to the school's most prestigious sorority, Alpha Nu Gamma, enter the rush process with varying degrees of excitement. Lindsey pins her hopes of popularity on pledging, but no-nonsense Sarah is skeptical of Greek life. Only at the urging of her family does Sarah agree to give it a chance. When strange things start to happen when Sarah is near Alpha Nu's cunning president, Chorine, she turns to her professor, Dr. Hunter (Jennifer Tilly), who's also the advisor to Alpha Nu's rival sorority, Pi Epsilon Delta. While Dr. Hunter's tales of eons-old witchcraft and ongoing battles between good and evil seem far-fetched, Sarah's own mysterious powers begin to make sense. As reality sinks in for Sarah, Lindsey settles into life at Alpha Nu and joins their desperate efforts to recruit her sister. Sarah must gain strength from the Pi Epsilon Delta sisters to save her own life -- and Lindsey's soul.
Is it any good?
THE INITIATION OF SARAH is a well-cast thriller that keeps you guessing, if not exactly on the edge of your seat. But parents beware: This is definitely not a cutesy tween flick about the ups and downs of sorority life. The movie is riddled with violence -- including murder and the implication of human sacrifice -- and mature topics like attempted suicide, using sex for manipulation, and manufacturing sexual attraction through liquid concoctions. On top of that, most of the female characters are popularity-crazed, snobbish socialites who spend more time studying the boys than anything else in college.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the pressure for social acceptance. Who determines what's popular and what isn't? How does it feel to be on the outside looking in at the "cool kids"? How does the media affect our perception of ourselves? Parents of teens can also discuss Greek life on college campuses. Are kids interested in rushing a sorority or fraternity? What do you think the benefits would be? The drawbacks? What do you think of the rush process? Is real-life rush the same as what you see on TV and in movies?