'Haze' offers insight into greek initiation

The University of Connecticut’s Greek Community Affairs Board (GCAB) hosted an exclusive screening of the of the award-winning feature film titled “HAZE,” Tuesday evening in the Torrey Life Sciences building. The film vividly paints a difficult, and often gruesome picture of how drastic hazing can get, even among regular college students.

The story focuses on Nick, an incoming freshman student anxious to become part of the leading “brotherhood” on campus. Brotherhood, in this context, is in quotations, merely because there was nothing brotherly about the characters in this movie at all.

As Nick receives his bid and begins the pledging process, lighthearted hazing becomes full-blown insanity very quickly. He has a falling out with his brother Pete, who seems to have an oddly ambitious infatuation with exposing the fraternity after hazing results in the death of another student. Tensions are high between the brothers, as each are attempting to discredit one another.

The movie also touches upon sorority life, through Nick’s good friend Mimi, an obviously independent mind who is seemingly rushing the sorority to gain the attention of Nick, who doesn’t seem to dedicate much attention to her at all regardless. Nick is much more concerned with getting a fuller college experience, as some would say, in the sense of consuming mass amounts of alcohol and engaging in plenty of sexual intercourse along with other dangerous activities.

As simple and generic as Nick can be as a character throughout the majority of the film, one really has to ask themselves whether Nick is generic, or if the type of stereotypical college male that Nick’s character portrays is what causes this stigma.

A substantial amount of this film is devoted to shocking footage of most of the sinister forms of hazing the best minds could devise. Beer funnels fed through duct tape openings in people’s mouths, beatings, racism, nonconsensual homoerotic behavior, the list goes on and on. One is not left feeling at ease after viewing this film, and these scenes are truly what make watching this movie so gut-wrenching.

The film takes a somewhat unexpected twist when we learn that Nick’s brother Pete was witness to the hazing incident that resulted in a fellow pledge member's death. The movie climaxes when Pete is discovered to be infiltrating the fraternity, and is badly beaten for doing so.

From here out, Nick attempts to reconcile with his brother, and much is left open-ended in terms of where this will leave his relationship with the fraternity.

   After the screening of the movie, there was a small discussion led by the GCAB, where the intent of the movie was discussed. Co-director of education for the organization, George Morgan Jr., commented, “It’s easy to relate to this movie, which is a sad thing to say.”

Part of what makes this movie different from others like it is the fictitious element of it, which Co-director of Education, Caitlin Jenkins, also touched upon.

“People are able to relate better through emotions rather than just cold hard facts,” she said.

The character development in this movie truly does have one feeling closer to those involved, comparatively to those whose real stories we may never get to hear in totality.

“HAZE” certainly felt unrealistic at times, as the events of hazing in this film truly bombarded the viewer. Upon further analysis however, none of the offenses in the movie really seemed as if they were singularly beyond possibility. These things could have very well happened, even if they hadn’t happened in the same fraternity or sorority.

“HAZE” finds its true accomplishment in creating a representation of all the brutal aspects of hazing in one fell swoop. Overall Rating: 7/10


Christopher Mueller is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at christopher.mueller@uconn.edu.