By Merle Bertrand | April 20, 1998

Most of us film geeks weren’t members of a college fraternity, were never invited to join, and wouldn’t have accepted an invitation to join even with a gun at our heads. Indeed, most of us loathed these cap-headed lemmings without ever really knowing why. Thanks to “Frat House,” from Todd Phillips and Andrew Gurland of “Hated” fame, we now have ample, tangible reasons to hate fraternities, the morons in them, and everything they stand for.
Warned that the frat “brothers” would never permit their abusive and illegal hazing activities to be seen, much less photographed by outsiders, Phillips and Gurland somehow wheedle their way almost all the way inside. But then “Blossom,” the subject frat’s head honcho, goes insanely, violently and profanely berserk in what would have been an hilarious sequence were it not for the fact that this jerk was literally threatening to kill the intrepid documentarians if they persisted in their attempts to film. There’s little doubt he meant it.
It’s only here, cut off from its primary subjects, that the film loses a bit of momentum. The filmmakers, faced with bodily harm, must regroup and scramble to find another frat to pick up the tale. They finally do, quickly recap the lost ground with this replacement frat, and plunge right into Hell Week and Hell Night, the final sadistic stages of a frat’s brainwashing process. They finally gain permission to film these ultra-secret rituals, but at a cost — they must also pledge the frat and undergo the ordeal themselves.
This is an amazing film, despite the fact that its final third understandably feels a bit tacked onto 2/3 of another movie. Funny, horrifying and inclined to make one weep for our future if these racist, ignorant goons are tomorrow’s leaders, the unwitting stars of “Frat House” have done the impossible — they’ve made GG Allin look like a pretty smart guy.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Join our Film Threat Newsletter

Newsletter Icon