Murder University (2012) (DVD Review)
Directed By: Richard Griffin
Starring: James Dufault, Michael Thurber, Samatha Acampora
Rated: UR/Region: 0/16:9/Number of disc: 1
Available from Wild Eye Releasing
A small New England college is plagued by a series of brutal, cult-like murders that share a similar pattern of killings some twenty years earlier. The lone survivor of a recent attack must team up with a veteran police detective and his daughter in order to uncover the secret behind the killings, revealing a legacy of murder and the occult that has been kept buried for decades on campus.
I loved most slasher movies that came out in the 80s. I think had I been old enough to recall, I’d probably have gotten as sick of them, seeing as how they came at the same pace as most found footage films come now days. Seeing as how the common slasher isn’t so common now, I welcome any new slasher film I can find, no matter if it is a cheaper made one or a studio one. After all, remember what I’ve always said about slashers. They are just like sex! Meaning, sure, they can be bad, but even when bad they are still kinda good. Now, I give credit to Richard Griffin here for capturing the spirit of an 80s slasher in all the ways he can, all the while actually managing to stay above and beyond any cliché that also comes with them (The man IS awfully talented behind a camera ya know?). You never really know who will survive and what the outcome of this film will be to the end, and that just goes to show how good of a storyteller Griffin really is. It also is a very fun film that never once will bore you, which as you should know by now always goes a long way with me. You get about as many laughs here as you do beheadings and that in the case of Murder University says a lot. Some folks might not appreciate the humor, which can be an issue. I’ve had a few fellow reviewers say that some of the gags took them out of the story. I just chalk that up to someone who isn’t use to the style of the director making a movie. I admit not all that happens here is a hit, but it isn’t a full on whiff of a miss either when something does fall sort of flat.
Now, don’t get me wrong, it isn’t a perfect film by any means. Then again, how many slashers have been? It is a very character driven affair and most characters have their own little things about them that I’d almost call gimmicky at times. Does that hurt things? Not THAT much, but it does cause you to feel like you are inside a cartoon at times instead of a throw-back slasher movie. If there is one thing that somewhat bugged me about the film, it would probably be that in some cases the characters don’t seem to hit an emotional level you might expect them to hit given the circumstances. Things that should bring a person to their knees emotionally seem somewhat brushed off and that did bug me. I mean, this isn’t a Troma film or I’d expect something like that. Maybe it shows that there are times when the inner balance of Murder University seems just a bit off-key. I would still, however, give all the credit in the world to the acting, because to spite some character flaws the actors do a great job. Especially actors like Samantha Acampora and Michael Thurber. Murder University as a whole is a lot of fun despite any flaws and I think that is really all that matters at the end of the day. If you love slashers give it a watch for sure. Just make kinda sure you like the director’s other work before perhaps diving in all the way blind.
– Two Commentary Tracks
– Deleted Scenes