12 October 2017 3:52 AM, PDT | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

Managing to avoid an air of overt exploitation despite considerable lurid content, writer-director David Burkman’s “Haze” is a fictional portrait of particularly abusive fraternity and sorority hazings at a nameless American university. The filmmaker’s debut feature is a somewhat pulpy drama, but it’s effective nonetheless.

While most movies addressing Greek life have been comic (from “Animal House” to “Neighbors”), there have been a fair number that have treated related bullying issues more soberly, from 1977 B-pic “The Hazing” to 2008 trash-horror delight “Frat House Massacre,” not to mention serious-minded recent Sundance breakouts “Goat” and “Burning Sand.” “Haze” lands in the upper-middle of that pack, mixing pseudo-documentary elements with a bacchanalia of staged excesses that sometimes seem to drive the film more than its fairly strong narrative arc. Yet despite some passages that are hyper-edited a little too much a la “MTV Spring Break,” the film has an admirable confidence and credibility.

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