Posted by James
Year of Release: 1981
Genre: Horror / Thriller
IMDB Rating: 3.9 / 10
Level of Awful: High
WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
Watching this movie proves that one should never have an inspired moment. Having written an exam on Latin, an old language, I thought I’d watch Final Exam, an old-ish movie. The connecting thought? Wait for it… wait for it… an exam 🙂 And it’s been such an education, both in terms of life’s lessons learned and general 80s-ness. For example, movies in the 80s didn’t have to have a point! This must’ve made things so much easier when it came to trying to piece random scenes together: if it doesn’t have to go anywhere, you can pretty much do anything you want. That said, the one definite aspect of this movie that stands out is that it’s very Halloween-esque. Original? No. Decent slasher movie? Hell no! Welcome to the B-Horror Blog!
Now, admittedly, I come from a country where the universities don’t include the Greek system and initiations are mostly prohibited, so the first 50 minutes of the movie in that sense were a little bit lost on me. Not one to shy away from a challenge, I’m going to do my best to describe this quasi-character development section of Final Exam. I only remember two of the characters’ names, so let’s start with them: there’s Courtney, a bookish creature busy studying for her final exam before going home for the holidays. She’s not a sorority sister but has plenty of slutty friends who are, and they have a joyous time together talking about various things and admiring the powers that boobs have over men. Next is Radish (I don’t understand the thought here), a super-intelligent young man with the social skills of a wet door mat and an obsession with psychopaths with a gun and a good aim. The rest of the characters are rather generic: blonde jock, brunette jock, jockish frat boys, blonde slutty girl and sickly sweet slutty blonde girl. And of course there’s the killer, the slasher first seen by Courtney through her window while she’s trying to study (Laurie Strode? Michael Myers? Anyone?). What does our killer look like? He’s got a spine of iron, a big knife, no mask and a haircut that makes it look like he has a mushroom on his head.
Right in the beginning of the movie we have our first kill: a young couple about to get in on in the guy’s car. The trailer tells us that the killer “has come back” – where he’s come back from is information the audience wasn’t deemed important enough to know, so why he’s there or what the plan is is really up to our imaginations. The next wave of action involves blonde & brunette jock and their band of jockish followers driving onto campus in balaclavas and faking a mass-shooting for shits and giggles. This is important since it ensures that the obnoxiously small-town sheriff won’t rock up later when things really go wrong, leaving the kids alone and defenceless. In the meantime Blonde Slutty Girl is sleeping with one of her professors and Sickly Sweet Slutty Blonde Girl is falling in love (Truly, Madly, Deeply) with one of the fraternity’s pledges. Along the way there’s also a fat coach who thinks that the shooting was hilarious and a campus security guard / policeman who’s very protective of his turf. They aren’t important at all and don’t really do anything except fill up space on the screen.
The major killing spree begins during some complicated fraternity ritual that involved tying our pledge to a tree, stripping him down to his underwear, covering him in shaving cream and shoving ice down his crotch. His whiny girlfriend is then meant to come and save him to ensure that the frat house doesn’t experience any ugly romances. Thankfully, to put me out of my confusion, our killer cuts the pledge free, scales the tree in seconds and then jumps down again to kill him just before killing the girl. He then goes after blonde jock who, at the time, was trying to steal painkillers to sell to stoners. Next is brunette jock who wants to know where the painkillers are. The final unimportant kill is the blonde waiting for her professor while draped in a silk sheet. With the sheriff unwilling to come and investigate what he thinks is another prank call its now up to Radish to try and protect Courtney from the clutches of the lunatic killer out to get her for no particular or obvious reason.
This movie was confusing, and to illustrate this point I want to end off this review with a quote from Sickly Sweet Blonde:
“I’m still happy. It’s just that I’m depressed.”
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- A real lady only has sex in a car if the top is up.
- 2 deaths and suddenly you have a mass-murderer on your hands.
- Coding your affair in academic jargon makes it less sleazy.
- The stupidity of frat boys is surpassed only by the stupidity of their pledges.
- A sheriff is powerless in the face of a college coach and a security guard.
- Only bland girls have the sense to use blunt force when necessary.
FINAL EXAM TRAILER
Posted on June 1, 2011, in Awful Level: High and tagged 1981, cheating, exams, Final Exam, fraternity prank, jocks, murderer, nerds, pledges, psychopath, sluts, studying. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.