final examMotion Picture Laundry

“Being brilliant has its drawbacks.”

Going through some of the lesser-known slasher flicks that came out in the wake of the success of Halloween and Friday The 13th, I came across this particular title on the streaming: 1981’s Final Exam. It seemed like an amusing way to kill 90 minutes or so. Most early 80s slashers were. So, while I was in the midst of recovering from my leg infection, I threw it on for kicks and giggles.

At Lanier College, the semester is almost over. Exam week is coming to a close when some upper classmen play a prank by staging a phony terrorist attack. But the next excitement in the school won’t be a prank. It’s something a lot more final than an exam. Students are falling prey to the knife-wielding maniac hell bent on making sure that school is out…forever!

First off, I’d hate to evoke the tired “the 80s were a different time” explanation, but there may be an issue with using a mass school shooting as a “prank” in one of the earliest scenes in the movie. Yeah, in this day and age, that came off rather…awkward and WTF than anything. Of course, everyone blows this off with a flippant “oh, those scamps”. I’m about as morbid and dark as you could know, and even I thought this was rather in bad taste. But, I digress…

So, when all is said and done, what we have with Final Exam is really a mediocre college campus comedy, with the whole “slasher” angle more incidental than anything. Outside of the opening scene of a young couple getting kababbed while making out in a secluded area, it takes nearly an hour to get to the actual stabby-stabby point of the flick. Until then, we have to sit through your stereotypical week college comedy tropes with some right annoying characters working off of a middling story. Once the “slasher” part of the movie actually starts, it’s a predictable by-the-numbers afaire that ends up forgettable once the end credits roll.

For what it is, though, Final Exam isn’t terrible, per se, and for a movie starring mostly stage actors, its low budget and the acting maybe has a bit too much cheese at times, but overall I didn’t regret watching this. Not that I plan on doing so again, but it’s worth a look-see.