Pages

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

FINAL EXAM (1981)

It may take an hour for it to kick into gear, but FINAL EXAM is a surprisingly effective slasher from that heyday of the genre, the 80s. After a grisly opening sequence, there is a solid hour of character building before anything else really happens. This ain't really a bad thing, as it means that by the time the mayhem kicks in, you're actually quite fond of these cookie-cutter characters. As a bunch of college students prepare for their final exams (BOOM! Title right there), a nameless maniac sets about going on a violent rampage without rhyme or reason.

There's no real explanation for his acts of carnage, and the film fits every stereotype of the genre to a T, but there's something about Final Exam that seems to set it apart from the usual fare. I think it's the fact that there's such a long time spent with these characters (and their pranks, cliques and conflicts) before the violence starts that you are rather more invested in them than you would be if they'd started being mown down in the first ten minutes.

The final act is a lot of fun, and after the lengthy build up the film's shift in tone and pace is both welcome and well-handled. Final Exam's final showdown is exciting and rather different to what you may expect, ending the flick on a high note.

It's a curiously bloodless film considering the genre and subject matter, but it's tense when it needs to be and has a deliciously John Carpenter style score. One scene early on in the film sticks out as being uncomfortable to watch for a modern audience, and that's a college prank involving a fake mass shooting, but aside from that Final Exam is an enjoyable peek at the 80s slasher genre and one that is certainly of a higher quality than a lot of them. Certainly one to check out for 80s slasher fans, but really only one for the completists unless you can find a cheap copy.

No comments:

Post a Comment