Final Exam finds its way to Blu-ray courtesy of Scream! Factory, sporting a decent high-definition transfer and ports over all of the special features from Code Red’s 2008 DVD release.
Studio: Scream Factory
Distributed By: Shout! Factory
Video Resolution and Encode: 1080P/AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
Audio: English 2.0 DTS-HDMA
Subtitles: English SDH
Run Time: 1 Hr. 34 Min.
Package Includes: Blu-rayBlu-ray keepcase
Disc Type: BD25 (single layer)
Release Date: 05/13/2014
It’s Finals Week at Lanier College, and as the students attempt to study, they are distracted by fraternity pranks, drug deals, and a killer stalking the campus picking off students one by one. Made during the rise of the slasher craze, Final Exam tries to turn the genre on its ear by spending most of its time developing its main characters, introducing red herrings, and providing a killer with no known motive that the audience has no connection with. Produced on a shoestring budget by writer-director Jimmy Huston (My Best Friend Is A Vampire) for the then-lucrative drive-in market, the film ultimately fails with its slow pacing and developing the main characters for its first hour, yet never developing the killer’s back story, making the third act rather anti-climactic.
The Production Rating: 2/5
The 1080p AVC-encoded transfer (from the original camera negative, as stated on the cover) approximates the film’s intended 1.85:1 theatrical aspect ratio by opening up the frame to 1.78:1. Overall, the image is somewhat soft with muted colors, which I suspect, based on the film’s low budget, to be intentional, although details such as hair and fabric textures are quite excellent at times. Contrast is also quite good, particularly during the night time scenes, exhibiting deep blacks. Film grain is left intact, retaining a nice cinematic look to the film.
Video Rating: 3.5/5 3D Rating: NA
The DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 mono track does its job quite well, providing clear dialogue, with the score by Gary Scott (Freddy’s Nightmares) and foley effects benefitting from the wider dynamic range.
Audio Rating: 3/5
The special features from the 2008 DVD release have been ported over for this Blu-ray. Missing here is the commentary track with producer Myron Meisel from Scorpion Releasing’s 2011 DVD release.Audio Commentary: New Beverly Cinema programmer Julia Marchese and musician Deron Miller moderate this track, featuring cast members Joel Rice (Radish), Cecile Bagdadi (Courtney), and Sherry Willis-Burch (Janet).Interview With Joel S. Rice (480i; 6:47)Interview With Cecile Bagdadi (480i; 3:43):Interview With Sherry Willis-Burch (480i; 4:58)Theatrical Trailer (480i; 1:31): This is the red-band trailer.
Special Features Rating: 3/5
I’ll admit that I am not a big fan of slasher-style horror films, and Final Exam, although it has its fan base, is not what I would consider one of the better films of its genre from the 1980s. Still, Scream! Factory has managed to package Code Red’s original DVD release (which is out of print) and upgrade the film to a high definition transfer.
Overall Rating: 2.5/5
Reviewed By: Todd Erwin
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