A killer murders two teens necking in the woods and then heads off to a nearby college to find more fresh meat for his Ginsu. The local police are pissed off that one of the college’s fraternities has been pulling pranks in which they pretend to murder freshmen, so they refuse to show up when the killer starts turning co-eds into scrapple. Predictably, there’s one spunky virginal chick who is able to go toe to toe with the blank-faced killer for the climb-to-the-top-of-the-bell-tower finale.
Final Exam was one of the many, many, many, many, many slasher movies that came out after the wake of the success of Halloween and Friday the 13th. Since it lacks the nudity and gore you would expect from one of these things, it’s instantly forgettable. Nearly all of the kills are identical. The killer wields his butcher knife high in the air and brings it down a couple times then director Jimmy (My Best Friend is a Vampire) Huston cuts away to a blanket or a wall or something and we see a bit of blood splattering. The only kill that has a little flair is when the idiot frat boy gets strangled on a workout machine. Other than that, the murders aren’t much to brag about. Even worse is that most of the kills are weighted towards the last half hour of the film. And with the exception of a couple different notes here and there, the music sounds almost exactly like John Carpenter’s synthesizer score for Halloween.
Actually, Final Exam isn’t all THAT bad. Yeah, I know I sound like I’m complaining a shitload of a lot, but if you’ve sat down and watched like maybe three dozen slasher movies in your time, then Final Exam would be far from the bottom of the barrel.
The one thing I really liked about the movie is that the killer had no back story. He just walked around college campuses killing people. There were no flashbacks of his traumatic childhood, no “I’m doing this because…” speeches, no doctor spewing out tons of exposition; nothing. He didn’t even wear a mask and his face wasn’t really ever obscured or anything. And you know what? It was kind of refreshing. That doesn’t exactly make it a kick ass movie or anything, I’m just saying.
The nervous nerdy guy gets the best line of the movie when he says “Senseless murder is a modern day phenomenon!”
(Special Note: Usually I don’t like to pat myself on the back or anything, but I think you all have to give it up for me for not succumbing to temptation and using a lot of stupid puns like “Final Exam TESTED my patience!”, or “Final Exam gets FAILING MARKS from me!”, or “Final Exam doesn’t MAKE THE GRADE!”, or some shit like that during the course of this review.)