Graduation Day distinguishes itself from its celluloid colleagues by never actually showing the event in question. Although the events in the movie take place around a high school Graduation Day (parties, rehearsals, last minute exams), we never see anyone graduate. No diplomas, no "Pomp and Circumstance," no grimacing principal in front of an audience -- just a lot of silly music video scenes and a crazed killer bent on eliminating the members of the school track team.
Anne is in town to attend the graduation to pick up some posthumous honors on Laura's behalf. The weird thing is that she's the closest thing to a main character the film has, yet she disappears from the movie for over forty minutes. The middle part of the film is devoted to murderer's rampage, as the various kids are stalked by SteadicamTM shots and then dispatched. Every movie killer has their preferred killing method, and this one seems to like spikes. The center section of the movie also sets up a bewildering array of suspects for the identity of the killer, including: the coach, Laura's ex-boyfriend Kevin, the school's principal, and a crazy campus cop. Probably the most noteworthy thing about this part of the movie is that it includes a young* Vanna White playing one of the school's students.
So students get killed for a while, and then Anne, after a long absence from the film, confronts the killer. Now if you remember the beginning of the flick, Anne is a Navy officer, so she should kick the untrained killer's ass, right? Well, Anne displays some lame karate chops, but besides that, she displays all the attributes of the final female victim of any horror film. She stumbles and falls for no reason, she mysteriously avoids the safety of other people, and she studiously ignores the weapons that fall out of the killer's hands. So much for the fighting precision of our trained Navy personnel.*
Fortunately, Graduation Day did provide us with two of the important staples of teen horror flicks: copious nudity and improbably complicated death sequences. Providing us with some of that nudity is Linnea Quigley, who practically made a career out of exposing herself in such films. Here she seduces a music teacher into giving her a passing grade. Imagine what she had to do for the math teacher! And since it's the track team that's going down, the deaths are all related to athletic activities. Man, we knew pole vaulting was dangerous, but this is just darn silly.
Review date: 8/7/99
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