July 11, 2019
Pledge: Film Review
My favorite character was Max [Dalla Villa] because he left me so flipping confused! Pledge 17I wanted to hate him; I really did. But every time he flashed a smile, I smiled with him and then had to remind myself that he is a fucking bad guy! It makes for a great villain because it gives us all a false sense of security.
THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER
January 9, 2019
Pledge: Film Review
The three Cryptea members who greet them have a slightly more interesting dynamic — with Cameron Cowperthwaite’s Ricky occasionally playing good cop when pint-sized tyrant Max (Aaron Dalla Villa) is too harsh with them — but still, their hazing of the recruits feels cobbled together from decades-old college comedies and watered-down torture porn. After starting with a bang — branding each kid with the club’s logo — the older students assure them the next 48 hours of physical, mental and emotional tests will serve a noble goal. “We’re looking for your breaking points, gentlemen. [pounds his fist] Because great men don’t have one.”
RUE MORGUE 1/9/19
January 9, 2019
Pledge Producer Keaton Heinrichs Talks Monstrous Beginnings and Production Horrors (Exclusive Interview)
How did the casting come together?
Casting was one of the biggest challenges we had, because we didn’t have enough money to afford SAG wages and we had to go non-union. That’s a process in and of itself. I had three weeks to prep the film, and I’m LA-based, so right when I got to New York, one of the first things I did was start the casting process. Fortunately, New York is full of hungry actors who are looking for their first feature. Aaron Dalla Villa, who plays Max, was the first one we hired, and he kind of set the tone for everyone who was cast after him. Some of the characters were actually different actors until about five days prior to production, until we had the last set of people audition for the film. One of them was Zachery Byrd, who plays Justin, along with Phillip Botello, who plays Ethan, Jesse Pimentel, who plays Brett, and Cameron Cowperthwaite, who plays Ricky. Phillip and Cameron were the only actors from Los Angeles who we flew out for the production. I think one of the best parts of the film is the cast, the family we built and the chemistry they all had. To this day, they’re good friends.
I understand that Dalla Villa stayed in character the whole time
Yeah, Aaron is quite a character, on and off screen. He’s a Method actor, and he had an idea of who Max was before we even started shooting, and then as soon as production started, he was Max. I wasn’t allowed to call him Aaron; he wouldn’t respond to that. I still call him Max today because that’s how I know him; I never called him Aaron on set. Daniel and some of the producers had their parents visit the set, and Aaron would be in character around them—which, if you’ve seen the movie, you can imagine was quite an uncomfortable experience.
January 10, 2019
“MOVIE REVIEW: PLEDGE”
Pledge is a tight and fast paced thriller. That sentence could be read as short on character development and plot, but stop thinking you know everything! Over confidence is so unattractive. Pledge delivers strong characters on both ends. Our leads are strong and lean into the nerd/outcast stereotypes without playing them tongue in cheek. Each of these guys deliver strong performances and make it easy to root for them, even though they walked right into the lions den knowingly. Zack Weiner (who plays David and also wrote the movie) delivers a completely obnoxious yet endearing character. College is suppose to be the high point of your life? David has every intention of seeing that through, even in the face of being the ass end of prank or worse. This is paired well with our lead baddie Max (Aaron Dalla Villa). Dalla Villa plays Max like a young Patrick Bateman. Seriously, if Brett Easton Ellis ever wrote a prequel to American Psycho, Dalla Villa would be the go to play Bateman.
January 13, 2019
Review: PLEDGE Is A Bloody Good Time
The actors all do a great job with their roles. They are obviously all having fun reveling in the B-movie glory. The standout is Aaron Dalla Villa, who plays Max. He absolutely nails both the creepy and the charismatic aspects of the character’s personality. The writer, Weiner, is also an actor in the movie, and he is hilarious in the role.
THE DAILY BEAST
January 11, 2019
Pledge Exposes the Ultraviolent Horrors of Fraternity Hazing” (Review)
Villa is particularly memorable as the diminutive Max, a pint-sized tyrant convinced that the keys to the Promised Land can only be attained through blood, sweat, tears and cattle branding.
January 11, 2019Film Review:
“Pledge” — Lambdas to the Slaughter
Lambdas to the slaughter though they may be, Justin, David, and Ethan gradually realize this isn’t a normal frat, or possibly even one at all. The hazing rituals they’re subjected to are cruel and degrading. They expected embarrassment and pain, but the uber-sadism of their challenges (choosing where on their bodies to be branded, stomaching a grotesque “rat soup”) turns into a matter of survival. “Social club” chair Max (Aaron Dalla Villa) is outwardly psychotic, but even more worrying are cronies Ricky (Cameron Cowperthwaite, hypnotic in how he shifts between boisterous enthusiasm and seething enmity) and Bret (Jesse Pimentel), who are models for Stanford prison experiment wardens.
Goomba Stomp 1/11/19
“‘Pledge’ Earns a Bid With its Fraternity House of Horror”