Reviewed by: Jamey Hughton
What's it about
When a student returns to high school after a stint in a mental institution, bodies begin to pile up. Is it him, the creepy principal, the jock... ?
Is it good movie?
It's always fun to see where big stars got their start, and being a young, upcoming actor in the 1980s meant there was a lot of slasher films to be a part of. Lest we forget, Kevin Bacon was one of the victims in the original FRIDAY THE 13TH, and Johnny Depp's first screen appearance was in A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET.
Although he had several credits on his resume already at the time (including a lot of TV), CUTTING CLASS is one of Brad Pitt's early movies. While Bacon and Depp can at least say that they were part of a lucrative horror franchise, I think CUTTING CLASS is something Pitt has tried his very best to wipe clean from his memory. This high school-based slasher from 1989 is one of the dumbest of its genre to be released during the era. Featuring a lot of crass black comedy (none of it funny) and a complete lack of suspense and gore, it's a horrifyingly bad movie with nothing redeemable to show for itself, unless you're a huge Pitt fan and you are interested in seeing him as a baby-faced bad boy.
Pitt isn't really the star of CUTTING CLASS, but he's got a large part as Dwight, the boyfriend of our heroine Paula (played by Jill Schoelen). Paula has it pretty rough at school; sheís a voluptuous cheerleader being borderline-stalked by Brian Woods (Donovan Leitch), the kid just released from the nut house. Paula also has to fend off the lecherous school faculty, namely principal Dante (Roddy MacDowall ?!?), who seems overwhelmingly eager for a new statutory rape charge. All the teachers at this school are either twisted perverts or apathetic morons who pretty much deserve to be killed (luckily, some are). Movies like this make me so proud to be an educator.
For a while you wonder if helmer Rospo Pallenberg (no surprise to find this is his only credit as director) is actually going to reveal some red herrings and try to pull off a surprise at the end. Not to give too much away (honestly I donít care too much, the movie is 20 years old), but CUTTING CLASS is apparently too lazy to even consider it. Where the movie ends up is exactly where you are expecting it to - that is, if you were thinking really hard to conceive the most simple-minded conclusion possible. The murder scenes are all bland, suffering from the same disastrous editing that plagues the entire movie. The film ends with two characters having a power tool showdown in machine class. Pretty hilarious stuff.
If you were wondering, Pitt is awful in his role, but heís no worse than any of his young co-stars. Veterans MacDowall and Martin Mull show up (the latter playing Paulaís dad, and playing a part in the most painfully stupid running gag in the movie), and their presence (like Pittís) provides some minor curiosity in an otherwise worthless movie.
Video / Audio
Video 1:85:1 Widescreen Format
Audio 2.0 Dolby Digital, with English and Spanish subtitles and English closed captions.
Also From Lions Gate A series of trailers for other LG releases.
Thatís all you get.
Of course, CUTTING CLASS has gotten the DVD re-release treatment because of Mr. Brad Pitt and constantly his rising star. However, the movie sucks now as Iím sure it sucked then, and isnít worth picking up in any decade as far as I can tell.