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A psychotic youth is released from his mental confinement and murders start happening all over a huge high school. Teachers, an assistant principal, and some coeds meet deadly ends in such various methods as impalement, burning in a kiln, axe to the head, slashing, and so forth. Is the crazed youth responsible, or is the murderer someone else? The ending is somewhat clever although in no way plausible. This is one of those eighties slasher flicks that does not know whether it is primarily a horror or a comedy. It DOES work better as the latter. The production is very nice and the film does boast some fine production values. The gore is limited despite the deaths, and the acting is adequate. The biggest flaw is the script which has more holes in it than a piece of cheesecloth. If you are able to put logic aside, the film can be a pleasant diversion. Certainly nothing more. Brad Pitt, Donavan Leitch, and Jill Schoelen star as the trio of youths the film centers around. Pitt is awful, though as one reviewer says he does not embarrass himself TOO much. Leith is suitably creepy, and Schoelen is beautiful if nothing else. The supporting cast is much better with the likes of Roddy McDowell, Martin Mull, Nancy Fish and other little known yet familiar faces. McDowell brings humour and class to his role as the principal, though he has very little to do. Mull is the funniest in his purely comedic role. In fact, Mull's performance has to make this a horror comedy rather than a horror film. Once you see the film you will understand why. Another bright spot is Brenda James, solely because she is one hot little number. So if you are looking for pointless, mindless fun...Cutting Class makes the grade.
High school student Paula Carson is adored by her jerk of a boyfriend,
Dwight Ingalls, but new eyes have caught her attention. Brian Woods, a
quiet loner who has just been released from a mental hospital after
being there for the mysterious death of his father. Not too long people
are disappearing and bodies are piling up at Wurley High and Brian is
first to be accused by Dwight because of his disturbing past. Although
Dwight has been losing it lately and now Paula is put in the situation
of finding out who is telling the truth.
Now the memories are flooding back. Think of homework, uptight teachers, a weird headmaster, obnoxious twits, a deranged loner and some murdering? What in the name!? Yeah "Cutting Class" is a forgettable, been-there-done-that and lame high school slasher. Despite that suggestion at least it's never boring, and it's slightly entertains as it breezes by quite easily. The pain is virtually bearable, but a top cast with middling performances make little headway in this low-end 80s slasher effort. The main problem here is that it tries really hard for a funny bone and then it would turn all serious, but it just doesn't come off with the right results. It's just too stupid to be funny and ridiculous to be taken straight. It just can't win! What shaped it was the hopeless charm that scraped the surface with its campy frame and fine turns by the reliable Roddy McDowall and the extremely lovely Jill Schoelen ("Stepfather" and "Popcorn"). Martin Mull even appears in his own little (if meaningless)side-story as some sort of comic relief character. Donavan Leitch does fine in his spooky staring down poses.
Sure the main curiosity for this flick would be that of a young Brad Pitt. His performance is very lacking, but fans of his might still check it out as his a main lead. All he does is leech about and his cocky character is just too unlikeable to care for. The plot is weak; that's there's not much to hang a story off (and still there are holes!) and to throw you off track, as the red herrings are downright ineffective. Just who is committing these murders? Well, it doesn't take an Einstein to figure out, as it's basically telegraphed to you. It follows a derivative style of every other slasher flick. Clichés are not excused. The dialogues are lousy, despite it's tongue-in-cheek tone and hammy one-liners. Killing it is a funky 80s soundtrack that you don't want to purchase after hearing it.
The semi-professional production looked adequate and it sported a colourful and brightly lit decor. The direction by Rospo Pallenberg is stale and tensionless. Wait to your eyes see one idiotic climax involving power tools and an unbelievably rash decision by the killer. The cruel deaths are unimaginative and have little, if no blood and gore. Those looking for obligatory nude flashes have to cope with blink and you miss it moments.
A real lemon of a flick, but still I found this mindless slasher watchable thank-you Schoelen.
From that golden age of cinema known as the eighties comes this
average teen slasher flick that seems tailor made to be shown on "USA
All Night". This movie looks pretty glossy and professional, and therefore
bland. The killings take a back seat to comedy scenes starring Martin Mull
and Roddy McDowell, the latter of whom is pretty funny (Although McDowell
often took crappy parts just for a paycheck- It's hard to imagine him
getting excited over the script for "Laserblast"- he was never
To the film's credit, the identity of the killer is kept a pretty good secret till the film's amusing enough climax in the school's metal shop. One of the main suspects is played by a young Brad Pitt, but he doesn't embarrass himself like future star Matthew McConnehey did in "Texas Chainsaw Massacre 4". Brad is merely lifeless in his role as a hothead basketball star and reckless driver. Creepy Donovan Leitch is the other probable suspect, and cute Jill Shoelen is the confused gal in a bland love triangle with the two. (Whatever happened to Shoelen? She's got a nice, early-Winona-Ryder vibe going in this and in "Popcorn". I think she's an okay actress, trapped in mediocre movies, like the Robert Englund "Phantom of the Opera").
And that is all I have to say on the matter of "Cutting Class".
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This movie, another mid-80s students-in-danger-from-psycho number, is not bad. I rented it just to cheer for Brad Pitt's death scene! Does he get his chance to top Debra Winger's 'Terms Of Endearment' deathbed moment? You'll have to rent it to find out. Somewhat funny, with a great stay-in-school message (delivered in the Science Lab for those of you serious about renting it). Skeeter gives it 7 1/2 for 10!
This teen slasher flick doesn't try to be different from others in the genre, but it has everything to succeed : it has a hot female lead character, sex related scenes, and gore.
And for the girls : it features a young Brad Pitt.
The 3 main characters of the movie are well developed, and the ending may be predictable but it works. I don't recommend "Cutting Class" but it's a slasher flick, and that makes it watchable.
This movie is often ignored by horror fans, but pretty underrated. Yes its cheesy and yes the only reason most people will pick it up in a video store is because Brad Pitt is on the cover but it does have a huge overall entertainment factor. The story is typical of 80s teen slashers, and the movie does have a strong likeness to Prom Night, Slaughter High and Return to Horror High, which isn't a bad thing. The acting is OK but the story is very good, and the sense of 'whodunnit' is very gripping (almost as good as Scream). When the killer is revealed in the grand finale, the final battle of good and evil begins in one last fight!!! Its pretty darn good and if you have any hesitations in seeing it...just watch it and i'm sure you won't be disappointed!
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.
A killer on the loose is murdering students and teachers from a cool
high school. Now it's up to the popular kids and the most ignored of
them, recently released from a psychiatric hospital, to solve the
mystery behind the murders. In this almost ludicrous and predictable
whodunit, everything is what appears to be and our fun is to see how
foolish director and writer can get while coming up with obvious
devices that doesn't even try to fool and impress the viewers. Maybe
some of the violence was unexpected but they sure were looking for the
laughs. And this is a barrel of laughter.
C'mon, it's not that bad. It's embarrassingly fun to watch a bunch of actors fully knowing they're stinking on scene, trying hard to look authentic and reliable, in this sort of parody of teen slasher flicks. A pretty good trash, now with a heavy cult following from Brad Pitt fans who are curious in seeing one of his earliest roles. And truth be told, he's the only one who worked the hardest to look good enough, in opposition to the cheesy acting from almost everyone. But Donovan Leitch steals the show in a weird way. As the troubled and lonesome Brian Woods, he's the most memorable face from this thing with his terrifying yet good looking eyes and face, a Ricky Fits kind of character - definitely not obsessed, just curious. But why does he have to dress like Frankenstein?
Although heavily inspired but countless (and better) movies, this one had its original parts. High point is when the killer challenges the math teacher to solve a difficult equation and discover which door from the classroom is the safe passage. That scene had me giving some nervous laughs.
It's enjoyable but only when you're in the mood to have fun and not take anything you see here in a serious way. But in the end "Cutting Class" shows us that skipping class is far more worse than killing people. Ouch. 6/10
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Distributor: Republic Pictures
Plot: High school can be murder. Just ask Paula. Her overprotective father disappears during a hunting trip. She is being pursued by a creepy classmate who recently graduated from a mental institution. Her jealous jock boyfriend who is looking for a reason to unleash his juvenile rage. The disturbed principal is after her tight student body. Any one of these people could be the killer, or is it someone totally different.
Audio/Video: No complaints with the Republic home video.
Final Thoughts: This is a pretty average entry to the slasher genre. Don't spend too much money on it, but if you see it for a low price......then I would recommend it.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
"Cutting Class" is a rather run-of-the-mill slasher.
Left alone for the week, Paula Carson, (Jill Schoelen) watches father William Carson III, (Martin Mull) go off on vacation in the woods. Going to school as normal, she meets up with boyfriend Dwight Ingalls, (Brad Pitt) after-school, while new student Brian Woods, (Donovan Leitch) looks on. As he was just released from a mental hospital, no one around school seems to trust that he's completely sane. As he manages to get closer to her through school and outside activities, she begins to feel closer to him rather than her boyfriend. As they continue to sort through their woes, a rash of murders across campus forces the students to demand action of the principal, Mr. Dante, (Roddy McDowall) due to all the disappearances and murders. Upon realizing the killer's identity, the survivors band together to stave off their intentions.
The Good News: This here doesn't have a whole lot of positives about it. The film's at its best with it's final confrontation showdown inside the auto-shop. Not only is this a pretty original place to hold a showdown, which is nicely appreciated, but it's also a nonstop series of blows resulting in a really nice action set-piece. There's some nice brawling scenes, a pretty nice duel with power tools and a couple of some really nice surprises that keep it going on. There's even some creative uses for different tools around, including bringing in a table vice and a long pair of tongs into the action that it ups the intensity of it significantly. This also manages to really rescue the film as it's one of the few times that there's something happening that really requires the attention of the viewer in any significant way, and helps to really up the enjoyment of it. There's also a really intriguing scene in here as well that's pulled off well. After a rather suspenseful trip through school where the killer would pipe a song into a specific classroom to note where they're hiding, several victims stumble into one which doesn't contain the song but contains a problem on the board that the teacher gave them earlier but never correctly answered, and the wrong one would lead to their deaths. This is one of the single most clever scenes in the genre, and the pay-off is extraordinary. That the kills, when they're actually coming on-screen, aren't that bad as there's a pole impaled through the stomach out the back, a hammer-claw to the forehead, an ax in the head, an arrow in the chest and a slit throat show up in here, nothing spectacular or gory but good enough. In the end though, all it's got is it's ending pieces.
The Bad News: This here has some rather pressing problems. One of the problems is that it's supposed to feel like a brutal, sleazy film when it's really rather tame. While it's deaths look nice, they're simply lowest-common-denominator ones that have been seen numerous times over and are so blood-less that they're nowhere near as shocking as they seem to suggest they are. These two really take a lot out of the film, when it's main attraction is a problem. Another one to overcome is that there's really no action at all until the end of the film. The few murders that are conducted beforehand are so spread apart and so dull that the film's beginning sections are so dull and languid that it barely registers. It's the same old stuff scene carted out time and time again without doing much to set-up the killer's identity. That in itself is another problem, as there's a really lousy attempt here to get us to believe that there's a mystery surrounding the killer's identity. There's a sense that it's supposed to a mystery with a series of red herrings that are built up but are so clichéd and unbelievable that there's no way they're possible suspects. No attempt is made at making them believable enough to be the killer, and it's hard to believe that any of them would become the real killer as the amount of clues are quite bad. The film's other really big flaw is that this just really feels flat. There's nothing really hugely impressive about it, there's really nothing that would signal that this was anything other than just going through the motions without anything else to get in the way. That hurts the film almost as much as it's lack of real slasher characteristics.
The Final Verdict: While not an overall decent slasher film, this one does have enough good points to at least become watchable. However, it's flaws will prevent this one from impacting anyone other than the most hardcore slasher fans, who will get the most out of this one, all others are encouraged to avoid as there's nothing here worthwhile to them.
Rated R: Graphic Language, Graphic Violence and Brief Nudity
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