Horror Movie Review: Final Exam (1981)

Final Exam has some unique slasher selling points. It’s got a killer who is motivated but is literally just that, a killer with no connection to the cast or reasoning. He kills and that’s it. Everyone will be expecting a twist at the end regarding his identity but there is none. Even though the movie attempts to set it up which I guess is the twist. Then we have serious attempts to give characters a bit more meat to their bones. We have prolonged stories and a lot of time spent getting to know the victims.

Admirable but flawed because ultimately it is executed poorly.

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It begins like many a slasher has…with a young couple sucking face in a car. He wants to go further but she’s not comfortable in the car. She tries to get him to take her someplace else especially when she hears noises outside. He probably should have listened as the pair get attacked and killed by an unknown person. Weapon of choice? The trusty knife!

The main plot of the movie then picks up at a nearby college. Here we’re introduced to a number of characters including a fraternity who pull of the most extreme prank ever. One that shows the film’s age because no-one would dare do this nowadays. The prank? They stage a fake-school shooting. No joke. All so they can get some extra time to study for their chemistry final.

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If this doesn’t make you dislike them, their stereotypical frat-boy ways will. Most won’t live to take the exam though as the killer from the start arrives and begins slashing his way through the cast one by one.

That’s about it really. A bog-standard slasher flick with an unknown killer and a lot of dialogue heavy scenes. Like it is stated above, the attempt to give more detail to the victims is admirable but it doesn’t make most any more memorable. The only one that really leaves an impression is Joel S. Rice’s Radish, a likeable and developed character.

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When the killing does get going it’s not very good. The film is almost completely bloodless and relies on a cast of females cowering in corners and trying to hide from their approaching doom. It’s very reminiscent of Halloween in how these moments are shot too.

It also doesn’t help that there are no inventive kills and the movie has them so spread out that it risks many a person just switching off out of boredom.

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It’s not a bad slasher horror by any stretch but it’s very forgettable beyond the odd scene here and there.

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Final Exam
  • The Final Score - 5/10
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