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Harley Jane Kozak,
High school student Paula Carson's affections are being sought after by two of her classmates: Dwight, the "bad boy", and Brian, a disturbed young man who has just been released from a mental hospital where he was committed following the suspicious death of his father. Soon after being released, more murders start happening. Is Brian back to his old tricks, or is Dwight just trying to eliminate the competition? Written by
Jean-Marc Rocher <email@example.com>
By the end of the 80s, the traditional slasher movie had pretty much run its course, the genre becoming too formulaic and over-familiar to its jaded audience. Rospo Pallenberg's Cutting Class is an attempt at sending up such conventions, but it's hard to poke fun at a genre that has already unintentionally turned to self parody, and the film winds up being virtually indistinguishable from the countless genuine films that it intends to mock.
Jill Schoelen stars as virginal and studious teen Paula Carson, object of affection for two ex-best-buds, overbearing basketball jock Dwight Ingalls (Brad Pitt) and creepy loner Brian Woods (Donovan Leitch). When Paula is left on her own for a week while her father, a district attorney, goes duck hunting, she promises to behave, but with rival friends fighting for her attention, the school principal (Roddy McDowall) perving over her ass, and a crazy murderer bumping off her schoolmates, staying out of trouble is going to be harder than she thinks.
Cutting Class certainly makes sure to pack in all the standard genre clichés, with red herrings and misleading clues a plenty (hands up who though that sodium chloride would actually save the day: I know I did), but veers awkwardly between silly humour (Paula's bumbling dad somehow surviving to the end of the film) and genuine attempts at horror (the killing of the school's vice principal), delivering crappy gore featuring patently rubber props and uninspired direction along the way.
The acting also does little to improve matters, with future A-lister Pitt being unmemorable, unlikeable and offering no hint of star quality, Leitch giving an equally unimpressive turn, and a performance from poor old Roddy McDowall that can only be described as extremely embarrassing. Thank heavens for the lovely Schoelen, who is as winsome as she was in Popcorn and The Stepfather, and makes the whole film just about worthwhile by simply showing off her magnificent butt.
5 of 7 people found this review helpful.
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