American college life is considerably different to the university culture we know in the UK. In the US Sororities and Fraternities are a big part of campus life, which are usually single sex groups of classmates, associated with amalgamations of Greek letters and a cult like bond that Charlie M himself would be proud of.
The bonds formed in these societies can be lifelong; and high profile, well funded chapters of certain affiliations can be the stepping stone to a the best connections, and certain advantages, over non members, that could lead success in your chosen career path. Unfortunately, they do have a particularly poor reputation due to their elitist and obviously exclusionary nature, and many colleges have banned the Greek letter organisations outright, as they promote the wrong messages, and hierarchical behaviour that should not be tolerated in a place of education.
In recent years these Beta Boys and Sigma Sisters have come under criticism for the dangerous nature of their ‘hazing’ rituals, in which among all of the super-fun-time humiliation, people have actually died from these idiot feats of proving themselves worthy enough of acceptance, making it a crime in 44 states and counting. Not to mention the deaths resulting from alcohol abuse and drug overdoses, not to mention your everyday violent assaults, rapes, and general douchebaggery.
Me, I don’t understand the need for belonging, and certainly not the idea of begging someone to let me satisfy it, but these societies do have one hellova plus point – they make the most excellent horror film fodder. Granted, as protagonists, they aren’t exactly Jay Gatsby, but watching them get sliced and diced is undeniably satisfying.
Its 1981, and Alpha Gamma Theta are looking for new pledges, filling their pretty little heads full of parties and boys. Unfortunately, someone is stalking the sorority, calling them on the landline with heavy breathers, taking souvenir pictures and standing around in their garden like a creepy gnome. Pretty girls make graves in this one – a lot of them.
The Sleeper has a lot going for it. The homage to the eighties slasher, reminiscent of House of the Devil and Black Christmas, it’s style is clever, and slick, with a great soundtrack and even a choreographed dance scene that I loved. It had that grainy, low lighting effect, with perfectly, static interrupted cinematography that was a perfect hat tip to the genre, and impressively subtle kills that were entertaining while sticking to the brief.
Unfortunately the pace was far too slow for my tastes, and I found that it dragged out to a mind numbing extent. When you start looking the clock during a horror film and wondering how long the pay off is going to take, then you know that it’s not a great indicator of a perfect slasher. It does have potential though, and the storyline and dialogue were beautifully executed, making it an intriguing watch nonetheless. I am definitely going to be looking out for Justin Russell’s future projects, if this is anything to go by.