What’s new in stores and on video shelves this week:
Directed by: Jimmy Huston
Run time: 89 minutes
The Lowdown: As a horror film, this 1981 cheapo knock-off of “Friday the 13th” fails to match the creative kills, the gore and the campy fun of so many quickly-made follow-ups to the granddaddy of ha-ha-ha, cha-cha-cha, kill-kill-kill slashers.
But what “Final Exam” lacks in the creativity department, it surprisingly more than makes up for with some spot-on social commentary (for the time) and cleverly fleshed-out college characters.
Imagine “Revenge of the Nerds” with a psycho on the loose.
The stereotypes are blatant but not hackneyed. They actually work. The effeminate nerd with the high-pitched voice? You actually warm up to him, even as he’s persecuted by the jocks left on campus during final exam week. The good girl virgin? She’s not half-bad as a final girl fighting for her life against a nameless goon who kills with abandon for no apparent reason. The aforementioned jocks, they get their comeuppance, but not before coming across as real people, the kind of idiots you actually knew in college.
What sold “Final Exam” for me was the sharp, acid-tongued writing that sadly was lacking in most slasher-wannabes.
Need an example?
Look no further than this classic monologue by Lisa (DeAnna Robbins, a long-time veteran of ‘The Young and The Restless’ daytime soap opera), an arts student sleeping with her married professor, as she coyly seduces him on her last day on campus before summer break.
“How about a little night cap tonight? It’s your last chance for some nice, firm flesh for awhile. I leave in the morning for the big city. You’re going to be left with nothing but that sagging old wife of yours. She must be almost 30 by now.”
The Stuff You Care About:
Hot chicks – Yes.
Nudity – Of course.
Gore – Surprisingly minimal.
Drug use – No.
Bad Guys/Killers – He’s simply called “Killer” in the credits.
Buy/Rent – Rent it.
Blu-Ray Bonus Features – Audio commentary and new interviews with the cast and crew.
I, Frankenstein 3D (Lionsgate, 93 minutes, PG-13, Blu-Ray 3D): I’m all for trying a new take on a classic legend, but really – gargoyles?!? And Frankenstein’s monster, now named Adam? And they’re doing battling against what appear to be Roman soldiers? What time period are we in, anyway? Who knows. Who cares! This is bargain-bin dreck, nothing more.
Orange is the New Black: Season One (Lionsgate, 730 minutes, Unrated, Blu-Ray): Funny, provocative, insightful and – holy crikey – Laura Prepon is smoking hot as a raven-haired, bad girl goth lesbian. This is good TV, people. Surprisingly good. The buzz does not lie.
Also Available: “Her,” “Endless Love,” “Shelter Island,” “American Jesus,” “Afterlife: Season One,” “Yu-Gi-Oh! Classic: Season 5,” “Easy Money: Life Deluxe,” “That Awkward Moment,” “Wolverine Weapon X: Tomorrow Dies Today,” “Perry Mason Movie Collection: Volume 2,” “Generation Iron,” “Deadly Code,” “Special ID,” “Evilspeak,” “Eastbound & Down: The Complete Fourth Season”