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A series of brutal, cult-like murders are taking place at a New England college. Josh Greene, a shy freshman, is the lone survivor of a series of murders that are reminiscent of a similar string of killings some twenty years prior. As he seeks to uncover the secret behind the attacks, he is joined by Detective Forrester, who was instrumental in halting the bloodshed before, and his daughter Meg, who had barely escaped being a victim previously. Written by
After 20 years, it appears that a serial killer has returned to a college campus.
Watching Murder University last night made me feel like a teenager again. The latest offering from Scorpio Films Releasing, an homage to the great slasher films of the early 1980's, brought me right back to a time when VCR's had become affordable to the point that nearly every household had one and independent video stores were opening up faster than Starbuck's. During those days, I would walk into a video store, head directly to the horror section and just pull videotape after videotape off the display shelves. Murder University could have been one of those movies.
Right from the incredible opening title sequence, Murder University nails it. The yearbook montage visuals, coupled with the great "Murder U" theme song, set the tone perfectly for the film to follow. Set in the year 1983, the story is about a series of murders at the fictional Greensboro College. At the film's center is Josh, a freshman at Greensboro College, played by Jamie DuFault, Ray Forrester, a detective trying to find the killer played by Michael Thurber and Forrester's daughter Meg, played by Samantha Acampora. Because of what Murder University is and the type of film it is honoring, it could very easily have come off cheap and hokey, but kudos to director Richard Griffin for not allowing that to happen. The soundtrack and score are amazing. The songs wonderfully capture that era in music and the John Carpenter-esque score is perfect! Visually, director of photography, Jill Poisson and assistant camera, Nolan Ball did a fantastic job of paying tribute to the genre. The low angle shots of the characters running through the hall ways stood out for me, a staple in the horror films of the time. There are copious amounts of blood and bare breasts all over the screen. The special effects were shocking and gory. The only thing missing was the requisite 80's musical montage of Josh and Meg falling in love on the campus.
The film is anchored by two solid acting performances. Jamie DuFault, as Josh, who seems to have some unknown connection to the killings, is superb in the film. With the use of just his eyes, DuFault shows the audience all of the emotions Josh is going through. In a film that could have been paper thin, a great performance from such a talented actor, makes Murder University stand out. Scorpio Film Releasing veteran, Michael Thurber is wonderfully entertaining as the grizzled detective, Forrester who believes the recent killings could be the return of the famed "Greensboro Devil" serial killer that he has been chasing for 20 years.
The film is not without its flaws. There are some minor continuity issues here and there, but those types of problems are to be expected on a low budget movie like Murder University and they do not interfere at all with the story. There is also a second detective in two scenes. It's alluded to that he and Forrester have some sort of past and don't care for each other very much, but that storyline isn't explored at all.
All in all, Murder University is a fun, entertaining film that any fan of the genre will enjoy. Congratulations to Richard Griffin and the rest of the cast and crew.
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