Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Rushed, Weak: "Rush Week" (1989)

Dude! Somebody's, like, killing nubile young co-eds and the only one who can solve the murders is a cutie-pie spunky young college newspaper reporter! Dude!

"Rush Week" is yet another in a long line of uninspired slasher films. A young transfer student must write a fluff piece about rush week. She falls for the president of a wild fraternity, who also happens to be our main suspect in the murders. Young women are being hacked open with a giant axe just after posing nude for photographs taken by the cafeteria cook (and ours would just put extra cheese on the pizza). The women are disappearing all over, and of course the final frat party has a Halloween theme, just to throw in more red herrings than you can shake a severed head at. The party scenes feature so many poor local bands trying to make the most of their big cinematic break, I wanted to hunt down the party committee chair and off him with an axe. The way too long finale takes place in "the science building," apparently fictional colleges do not name their buildings after former university presidents. The real killer is revealed (big duh), reporter and frat boy live happily ever after.

On the positive, we do have the nude co-eds. I appreciate the female form as much as the next horror film reviewer, and it is on display here. There are bare male butts, but they are usually mooning people (oh, those crazy frats).

On the negative, the film piles on so much evidence that the frat president is the killer, you can pretty much guarantee he is not. He takes long midnight walks alone, has vicious mood swings, and goes to rescue spunky reporter in the finale wearing the exact same hood and robes as the killer. Is the killer the cafeteria cook? No, he just takes the nude pictures, he does not seem the killer type. Is the killer the biology gofer named Mort who skulks around the university's only cadaver? No, this minor suspect disappears half way through the film! Is the killer the spunky reporter's advisor, Gregg Allman? No, he has two scenes that last slightly longer than his marriage to Cher, and he proves he should not quit the classic rock county fair tour to start doing Shakespeare. Is the killer the dumb-named Dean of Students Grail? I was hoping his murdered daughter's name was Holly Grail, but no such luck. He is the only adult who is preoccupied with all the sin going on during rush week...hmmm...

The final nail in the coffin, as it were, is that we never see the nudie models killed. Sure, the maniac comes in and swings an axe, but no blood and no bodies! The whereabouts of the bodies is never discussed. The crime scene has just three drops of blood, the killer must be a neat freak. The only murders onscreen occur in the finale, and now we find out where the special effects budget went. In desperation on the film makers' part, the killer even jumps up to attack again after everyone figures he is dead. Like most Hollywood films set on campus, no one ever goes to class, they just party. I did that my sophomore year... and ended up being a fifth year senior since I only brought out six credits worth of passing grades. Then again, I wasn't going to the screenwriters' fantasy university in this film.

"Rush Week" is no rush, and very weak. I do not recommend it. (* *) out of five stars.