You remember those songs from ’80s? Most of the are alike. Well, you might also remember that if you play any two songs from the same album (or most of the hits from that era) at the same time, you’ll see they have the exact same structure, with the chorus kicking in at precisely the same time and clock in at just about the exact same length. I thought about that while watching Final Exam, because I am pretty sure one could superimpose the film over Halloween and come away with a similar result.

We get one of slashers clichés at the very beginning. Young couple is making out on the backseat of the car somewhere in the dark campus parking lot. Or at least guy tries to make out while girl is claiming she is too classy to do it in the car. After a bit more convincing she accepts to do it there (of course she would). But no luck for the guy. Some jerk cuts through the roof on his car with knife, pulls him out and slashes him. Then the moment spoiling dude comes back to finish his job on screaming girl. You had your chance, slut!

Death to libido

The next scene takes us to Lanier College. We see young Courtney (played by Cecile Bagdadi) talking to her classmate Mark (played by John Fallon) about chemistry tests. Now, during the “character development” phase of the film, we are treated to at least 12 slams on chemistry’s purpose in real life, to the point where it’s almost mean-spirited. My guess? Screenwriter/director Jimmy Huston failed chemistry in college or high school, and wrote a slasher film around it. Anyway, that’s when they are approached by unfortunately named nerdy guy Radish (played by Joel S. Rice), who very much resembles Screech character from “Saved by the bell” series. Radish informs them about murdered couple on other college. Then suddenly there is a terrorist’s attack on campus. They are shooting students randomly and take corpses into the van, before they drove away. It turns out to be a prank by Gama fraternity. Everyone noticed that but Radish and some dumb girl. Radish, still under the influence of recent murders, calls out the sheriff. Of course, he made a complete ass out of himself in front of sheriff (played by Sam Kilman) and entire school. On the other side, fraternity is celebrating successful prank. We get here real overdose of peasant faces. First among them is a school jock Wildman (played by Ralph Brown). Wildman talked frat pledge Gary (played by Terry W. Farren) into stealing chemistry tests. He says he doesn’t want to study (well surprise, surprise). Poor Gary actually managed to sneak that night and steal tests. On his way out he gets intercepted by the rest of the fraternity. They take him out (notice here it is a broad daylight; it was past 9pm and pretty much dark when they intercepted him), strip him almost naked and tie to the tree in front of the college. As it wasn’t enough already they sprayed confused and terrified Gary with cream, poured bourbon into his underpants and left him tied to the tree. And all of that as a part of initiation to the fraternity. I wish them death.

Another backdoor initiation

I’ll have you notice that we are at almost one hour of the movie length and yet no murders are to be seen. I really don’t see the point of such vast character development when it is clear they are going to die anyway. Also, nerdy and slutty girls conversations are pointless as well. Anyway, all of that is going to change soon. The killer has decided to show himself. And who would be better practice target than sitting duck Gary? Naive Gary stayed tied to the tree until the night (or is it the same night). There killer finds him, cuts him loose and butchers him. I guess he didn’t want to damage tree bark. Meanwhile, Wildman went to the school gym to get some pills for the fraternity. He meets the same fate as Gary (and that also include Gary’s girlfriend Janet (played by Sherry Willis – Burch) who went after him). Hm I can’t decide if this is poetical justice or just the old rule which states that everyone are treated equally in the brotherhood.


Mark decides to check out what took Wildman so long. He finds only death in the utility room. The next one Radish. It seems that everyone who comes at school gym dies instantly. Radish finds bodies and manages to escape. Then he calls a police again but this time they wouldn’t believe him (remember a boy who cried “wolf”?). So the only thing left to him was to get killed by through the doors. Courtney finds him but she is too dumb to realize Radish is dead (yeah, all that blood, broken doors and cracked skull are sending mixed signals).

You failed exam!

With death of slutty Lisa (played by Deanna Robbins), who slept with teachers for a good grade, the only one remained alive is Courtney. Killer (played by Timothy Raynor) chases her through the entire school, in more or less slasher cliché chase fashion, until the top floor. There some random hunter shows up at the bottom of the stairs and shoots an arrow in killer’s direction. Killer, whose face can be clearly seen now but we still don’t have any idea who is he actually, catches flying arrow with his hand and then use it to kill hunter. Courtney takes the opportunity to stab the killer, push him down from the stairs and finish him with more stabbing. Then she goes out to cry. The End


Conclusion: The most hilarious thing about the movie is that the killer makes Michael Myers look like the most complex killer in slasher history. While his motives were unclear, he at least had a name and a mask. This guy doesn’t even have that. He’s just some guy with an Anton Chigurh haircut. No mask, no name, and certainly no motive. In a way it’s kind of admirable that at the time the film came out , when everyone was trying to make its own memorable slasher, the Final Exam team couldn’t even be bothered to give the guy a paper bag. Remember what I wrote earlier about chemistry bashing? Well it seems that the director was so focused on chemistry bashing that he forgot to provide his killer with any sort of… well, anything. Besides that, i don’t have anything more to say about this slasher attempt. It is so dull with brief moments of lucidity. And it doesn’t even have nudity!

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