Final Exam was an attempt made by Jimmy Huston, the film's director, for creating a Slasher title that tried ignoring the obvious boundaries that haunt the genre. This was the same man that would later go on to create a more popular product in 1987's My Best Friend is a Vampire. Teamed up with Huston is Gary S. Scott who arranged some of the music featured on Fox's Funhouse (hosted by J.D. Roth) in 1988, and in that same year allowed his musical hand to complete 31 episodes of Freddy's Nightmares (1988-1990).
The film takes place at Lanier College and opens up with a murder at another campus. The killer is an unknown assailant who holds no ties to the cast in question; just a lunatic out for blood. The viewing audience is strung along on a 50-minute "heartfelt" exhibition of a "rigorous" college life. A second murder occurs in close proximity and poses a threat to the well-being of the young crowd as the remaining minutes display the disposal of the characters in a quick, albeit cheap, fashion.
My description of Final Exam is brief because there's not too much to say, honestly. Mockingly I mentioned the heartfelt moments contained within - so many, in fact, it'll cause you to feel as if you're watching an after-school special or an episode of Full House rather than a movie filled with dread. The director wanted to avoid the usual Slasher routine so instead he opted to focus more on character development. I wonder who told him that this was a good idea - sure, not enough character involvement is unwise and too much of it in a Slasher film is boring...why can't there be a balance of both? Is that such a cross to bear? "Ugh, toiling endlessly on creating a decent film for audiences to appreciate...such a burden," Huston says to himself in the waking hours of daybreak. I'm curious as to why the horror genre attracts so many foolish wannabes who have the urge to pick up a camera and start filming absolutely nothing; almost like a curse, a hex if you will, which I suppose would be rather fitting. Seriously, film-makers should create a movie about a director who thrives on creating sloppy films that contain no substance or value - oh wait, they already did, and they based it on Ed Wood.
Everything about this movie is dumb - which shouldn't be viewed as a wild accusation since the majority of films in the Slasher sub-genre are not only inadequate but also incompetent. The dialog alone should be a subject of ridicule with Oscar-rated material such as this to cleanse your palette:
"I leave in the morning for the big city. You're gonna be left with nothing' but that saggin' old wife of yours. *Laughs arrogantly* She must almost be 30 by now?"
Out of all the Slasher titles that involve students at a University or high school, I'd suggest watching those instead, more precisely, ANYTHING over Final Exam. Watching paint dry will become a favorite past time after experiencing the dregs of boredom that this movie invokes within its viewers. Final Exam executes the movement of a snail too perfectly and allows 1984's Girls Nite Out to look like a Masterpiece Theatre rendition of Julius Caesar.