Debauchery and Torture: David Burkman’s HAZE – Coming to Lander


HAZE will be shown Wednesday, September 21st in the Cultural Center Auditorium at 7:30 p.m. in conjunction with National Hazing Prevention Week.

“I’ll do whatever it takes to get in this frat”

REVIEW: The boundaries between torture and abuse are pushed in David Burkman’s film, HAZE, which illustrates the taboos of group orgies, illicit drugs, human feces, sexual exploitation, and even murder to bring to life the realities of the American college experience. Though unrealistically exploited for filmmaking and storytelling purposes, the scenarios shown in HAZE are encounters the average college student will eventually face in their tenure in the collegiate system.

HAZE FilmThe story line follows Nick Forest, the central character to HAZE’s Greek tragedy narrative, as an eager freshman ready to divulge into the realm of respect, trust, and loyalty that makes up the fraternity of Psi Theta Epsilon, following the hazing-related death of another pledge the year before. The film rivals the meaning of brotherhood in a familial sense with Nick’s insensitive relationship towards his brother versus the bonds that form among a fraternal organization, which at times teeters towards a dangerous path. Psi Theta’s freshman pledge class learns not through academia, but through binge drinking and sexual temptation at the mixers, parties, and challenges that their elder fraternity brothers arrange for them. The power that comes with Greek letters transforms their reflections of themselves into untouchable men on their college campus, and in a sense entail that much of the learning and growing up in college occurs outside of the classroom.


College can be defined as a lot of things to many students and we have yet to encounter a film that accurately depicts the pressure and indulgence of wanting to join a fraternity or sorority. Though many believe that the young men and women who rush (a series of events and gatherings in which prospective Greek life members get to know each other) “pay for their friends”, Burkman shows that the friendship and bonds that develop through this period of hazing aren’t meant to force relationships, but instead develop them. Through the rituals of hazing and the distorted idea of Hell Week (a week long stint of torturous endurance exercise for new pledges), we view how the characters either survive or breakdown individually and as group through Darwinist practices.

I believe the film captured the spirit and debauchery of college in a light that Hollywood films have yet to explore and it illustrates what dozens of documentaries on college hazing and sexual assault want to portray. I encourage all Lander students, even those not involved with Greek organizations, to take time out of your busy schedules to watch a film that will shock and inform you of the realities and dangers of college life beyond the books.

The film will be shown this Wednesday, September 21st in the Cultural Center Auditorium at 7:30 p.m. in conjunction with National Hazing Prevention Week that begins on Monday.

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  1. I have always thought hazing was a bit out of control. I think this movie will really highlight this very serious and dangerous issue!


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