Final Exam (1981) **1/2
D: Jimmy Huston
C: Cecile Bagdadi, Joel S. Rice, Ralph Brown, DeAnna Robbins, Sherry Willis-Burch, John Fallon, Terry W. Farren, Timothy L. Raynor
Plot Synopsis: A psycho killer shows up on college campus to slash up pretty co-eds and dumb jocks.
Review: Back in the wake of Friday the 13th's success, horror films were jumping on the slasher bandwagon left and right. The formula was pretty simple. Gather a group of characters, place them in an isolated setting and then watch as they are picked off by an unseen killer. To spice things up, throw in heaping helpings of gore, have the cast get naked and maybe throw in some drug use.
While Final Exam is a slasher that came out in the wake of Friday the 13th's success, it tries to break the mold by going a different path. First off, the setting itself, a college campus, is what I would hardly consider isolated. Two, instead of having characters whose only purpose is to get killed, the film actually takes the time to try and get to know the people who populate this college campus setting. Credit is also due to the mostly unknown cast, who are able to create distinct personalities for there characters. Three, instead of focusing on gore, the film tries to focus on suspense and, at times, achieves it, especially towards the end. The final reveal, involving the killer - their identity and their motive, is a nice touch.
While this might not sound like a big diversion from the slasher formula, Final Exam at least deserves credit for trying to go there in its attempts to differentiate itself from others of its kind. [R] 89 minutes.
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