Cutting Class (Movie Review)

Casey's rating: ★ ½ Director: Rospo Pallenberg | Release Date: 1989

Paula's (Jill Schoelen) your typical high school girl with boy problems. On one hand, you have school bad boy and basketball star Dwight (Brad Pitt) as the current standing boyfriend. On the other you have Brian (Donovan Leitch), your typical teen who's been locked up in a mental hospital for the last five years for killing his father and has just been released, both trying to win her affection. What's a girl to do?

To make things worse, people all around the school begin to turn up dead. All signs point to crazy boy mentioned above, yet Dwight becomes seemingly more unhinged by the day. Is Paula dating a killer? Is she being a stalked by an affectionate psychopath? Is that cute red headed cheerleader chick really going to cheer with no panties on? We can sure hope so.

With a flick packed with so much "Name" talent... Brad Pitt, Donovan Leitch, Jill Schoelen, Martin Mull, Malcolm McDowall, one would expect to see a movie that is at least half way competent and somewhat entertaining. Failing at both points, I was somewhat mystified by the end credits at just how this package became the miserable bore that it was. With a clumsy plot, heavy handed foreshadowing and downright painful dialog, it's apparent that fault lies heavily on the writers desk for this opus. Were the dialog fixed and were there actually, oh I don't know, something happening during the movie, it might have been fairly decent.

The basic ideas were there along with a rudimentary plot twist, they just managed to forget to add anything interesting inbetween. So boring in fact, the small instances of things going on in the background became the most interesting factors. The Vietnam vet custodian going into flashbacks while he was mopping floors? I'd rather watch a movie about him. In fact, even our killer and the deaths failed to be the least bit disturbing.

The disturbing part? The fact that nearly every male teacher in the school was hell bent on molesting or eyeballing Paula in her short skirts. Sure, the girl was cute in that 80's way but the fact that the writers and director went out of their way to show every member of the faculty pawing this poor girl or fooling her into an up-skirt shot? Creeeeepy. (And really folks, Malcolm McDowall trying to see a girl's panties? We all know he ain't interested)

Now, I know what's grabbing all your attention. 'Brad Pitt in a teen slasher?' Tis true, tis true. For you Pitt fans however, don't get too excited. Where we've seen Mr. Pitt pull off a convincing psychopath in "Kalifornia", he didn't breed those skills in "Cutting Class". In fact, the only thing he may have learned through this outing is 'how to look pretty' and 'how not to act'. Ham handed and corny, he does manage to pull off an 80's bad boy fairly well, yet there's a touch of fruitiness to it that only Brad can add. Regardless, he's there, and he's not the biggest problem of the venture.

That award goes to Donovan Leitch as crazy boy Brian, freshly returned from his five year stint at the mental hospital. If acting like a crazy person involves wide eyed stairs and wooden delivery, well then he was spot-on. For myself, I find that more of a 'boring schlub' performance. Failing to be intimidating in the least, the creepiest scene he managed to turn out in the entire flick was when he sat watching Paula sleep (Never mind she didn't seem to be bothered by this). When your plot points hinge on a who-dun-it between a bad boy and a mental patient, at least give us reason to think he might have done it. I think the craziest this guy got in the mental hospital was during craft time.

To 'cut' to the chase, 'Cutting Class' kinda sucks... A lot. It's boring and slow and there's very little to keep you interested until the end. The chicks are cute, the boobs are minimal, and the characters are uninteresting. I really can't find any reason to tell you to give a watch. So give it a pass.


Writer/Podcast Host/Cheerleader

Falling in love with the sounds of his own voice, Casey can be found co-hosting the Bloody Good Horror Podcast, the spinoff Instomatic Podcast as well as the 1951 Down Place Podcast dedicated to Hammer Horror. Casey loves horror films of every budget and lives by his battle cry of 'I watch crap, so you don't have to.'