Friday, March 17, 2017

Film Review: Graduation Day (1981)

Graduation Day (Review)
United States/1981
Format Viewed For Review: Amazon Video
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: Yes

"It has several glaring flaws, like the disjointed plot and the dull filler, but it is an entertaining slasher."

A masked killer begins murdering the members of a track team near graduation day...

Graduation Day is a cheesy '80s slasher. There isn't much to say about the plot. It begins with a corny montage of the track team. Laura, a member of the track team, collapses and dies after finishing a race. So, Laura's sister, Anne, arrives in town for her sister's funeral and the graduation—I guess she was supposed to receive Laura's award or something. Anyway, as Anne arrives, members of the track team begin dying. That's about it. Someone dies, there's some unnecessary filler scene, someone else dies, and repeat. It leads to the same climax you've come to expect from every slasher movie ever made. The ending has a surprise or two, but it's nothing groundbreaking.

Graduation Day is a fun but flawed slasher. As I already stated, the plot is basic—to a fault. It's also disjointed and sloppy. It tries to do so much, but it ends up feeling like it did nothing at all. For example, from the beginning of the film, Anne appears to be a very significant character. Well, she ends up disappearing for large portions of the film only to return at the end—she wasn't so important after all. There are other characters who also get the limelight, like the perverted music teacher, but it doesn't seem important—at all. So, all of these unnecessary scenes (filler) just serve to hurt the pacing and bloat the runtime. It's still charmingly cheesy, it has some grisly kills, and I did like some aspects of the ending, but it is otherwise just another slasher.

The acting wasn't half-bad, though. There are some solid performances here and there, but nothing really sticks out. Christopher George, who plays a hard-headed coach, was probably the best in the film. There isn't much to say about the cinematography or the music—it's all acceptable. The film was written by David Baughn, Herb Freed, and Anne Marisse; Freed also directs. Considering the flimsy, sloppy plot, I'm surprised this film had three writers. In other words, the writing could have used some fine-tuning and some originality. The direction wasn't bad, though. It could have used some inspiration, but Freed got the job done.

Overall, Graduation Day is a decent film. It has several glaring flaws, like the disjointed plot and the dull filler, but it is an entertaining slasher. If you love the genre, like me, this is worth a stream. It's even worth a stream if you're just killing time. However, if you're looking something really good, there are better slashers out there.

Score: 5/10
Parental Guide: Strong violence and blood.

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