Directed by Richard Griffin
Hello once again. After a brief involuntary hiatus from reviewing, I’m finally back to try to pick up the slack. I’ve been wanting to watch and talk about another movie directed by Richard Griffin. And so I decided to go with today’s choice, Murder University. Let’s get to it.
Josh Greene is not having an easy time at university. He’s getting hassled by one of his professors, has an annoying roommate who seems born to entertain in every way possible, and is awkward around ladies. But those are the least of his worries when a rash of murders start happening around the university.
Josh is unlucky enough to get caught in the crossfire of a murder attempt-in-progress, and is captured by one of the killers. Amazingly, he survives his encounter with the cult-like killers, and with the help of Detective Forrester and his daughter Meg, the trio set out to put a stop to all the death. Naturally, Josh is immediately attracted to Meg, and this has the additional danger of incurring the wrath of the overprotective detective and father. But who wouldn’t take that chance, am I right?
Murder University is a movie that doesn’t take itself very seriously. Even though it pays homage to 80s slashers, which often had unintentional humor at best, there is quite a bit of humor thrown in throughout. I found myself chuckling quite a bit throughout my time watching. That is, until the last 20 minutes or so, in which case the movie becomes very serious and is quite the contrast to everything prior.
Acting was done well, although a couple of the actors playing smaller roles were nothing remarkable. Jamie Dufault and Samantha Acampora worked well together, as did Dufault and Michael Thurber. Thurber was once again awesome as the foul-mouthed version of Kojak, Detective Forrester. Some of his lines are quite funny, and almost worth the time to watch in itself. And the rest of the supporting cast had funny moments as well, particularly Josh’s incredibly flirtatious mother, his roommate Leon who will do just about anything that many people won’t, and Juicy K. Thunder, whose look and personality outshine most of the other characters. Good thing he only had one scene.
Blood and gore wise it has its ups and downs. There is a lot of decapitations, stabbings, and scalpings to be had, most of which look pretty good. One that looked really good was an axe taking off the top of one guy’s head, with his brains spilling out. Another was a scalping with a knife, which while the scalp peeling off the head looked good, the guy holding the knife had it nowhere near the scalp while it was being cut off. But hey, points for trying I suppose.
Technically speaking it was shot pretty well. Not to the level of Exhumed, but these two movies you can’t really compare due to how different they are from each other. There wasn’t much in the way of shaky cameras and that sort of thing, so that’s an automatic plus to me. I also noticed that in a number of scenes there were a lot of shots using primary colors for the lighting. It was quite Argento-esque (Suspiria immediately came to mind), which I kind of liked. On the same topic, I also noticed a part late in the movie where Detective Forrester used a lighter to see into two already very well-lit rooms. Oh well, I found that more amusing than anything.
I think one of the main issues I had with the story was the ending. What Josh decides to do at the end of the movie to me doesn’t seem like it’s in his character to do. It could be argued that there are hints dropped prior to the end, but it sort of seems like the end was done purely for shock and not so much for the story. Also, as much as I loved Detective Forrester, he is a shit detective. He had excellent chances to stop one of the killers, and not only does he fail because he’s out of shape, but he either doesn’t use his gun when he had opportunities, or when he does use his gun the killer is running off and Forrester can’t even hit him. His dedication to the case is very much in question. Oh, and he may or may not have slept with Josh’s mom. I’ll leave that up to you to figure out.
So my final thoughts. While it’s probably not the best slasher you’ll see in your lifetime, Murder University has its good points. It’s clear that a lot of fun was had in the making of the movie, even though it was apparently very cold when it was shot, while the actors had to dress like it was springtime. So kudos to the cast for what they went through. If you’re interested in buying/renting the DVD, you’ll get not one, but two commentaries, as well as trailers and a little hidden something, if you are a little vigilant. So go check it out. Another Richard Griffin movie will be on the reviewing block down the road. For now though, rest in peace.
Macabre Rating: 3 out of 5 tombstone