Lucky for Cutting Class’ producers, they cast Brad Pitt in this barren, cheap, and inconsistent slasher movie that shows how far the genre fell by 1989.
It’s supposed to be funny and a send-up. At times, that sort of shows through. Martin Mull, who plays the father of co-star Jill Schoelen, is shot by an arrow early in Cutting Class. He then spends the rest of the movie being stepped on, ignored, and struggling to get back home. It’s the best gag in the movie.
Cutting Class is just bizarre and awkward
Cutting Class is just bizarre and awkward
The rest of Cutting Class is just bizarre and awkward, with poor Roddy McDowall reduced to playing a perverted principal who looks to undress his female students. A janitor randomly appears throughout Cutting Class, a purely comic oddball, but his unreal personality doesn’t even work as a comic exaggeration.
Marginally titillating, Cutting Class exploits the genre in all possible ways, whether that’s sexual or violent. Edited in some markets, this release includes the fully uncut version. That means seeing an ax slam into a skull, a knife slashing a throat, a flag pole-on-a-trampoline, and a few other marginally creative means of dispatching victims. None are particularly exciting.
The only notable thing in this script is the killer’s identity, playing against the trope of a slasher villain never being the most obvious character. That’s a funny parody, but Cutting Class plays itself all too straight most of the time, refusing to relent and inject comedy anywhere but the absurd kills.
Cutting Class heightens teen anxieties about school, with Pitt aiming for a basketball scholarship, but his rebellious side has more control than his talents. Relationship drama, cartoonish teachers, and social awkwardness all play their part in developing this stock high school scenario.
The demographics aim young – younger than an R-rating would indicate, to be clear, but that was the genre’s fuel. Cutting Class was designed for video store shelves, where a weekend of underage drinking and killer-on-the-loose flicks while the parents are away meant fun. That is, until someone made an egregious error and rented Cutting Class instead of any number of better murder movies.
A heavy, grit-filled film stock poses a challenge to MVD’s encode. To its credit, it mostly holds up, although struggles the most when dealing with peak HDR effects, notably the skyline. The image takes on a digitally noisy appearance, albeit just in spots. On the plus side of that issue is the glistening, intense HDR that more than enlivens the imagery – it gives the whole thing lift and life. It’s spectacular.
Also great, the color’s richness. It’s saturated, bright, and absolutely appealing. Yellows, blues, and reds all pop from the frame. It’s spectacular.
Cutting Class isn’t the most textured movie on the format, but this fresh master draws out what detail it can from the source. It’s sharp and crisp, but the cinematography limits the possible fidelity.
PCM mono is the default, but there’s a stereo mix too, but only in Dolby Digital. Booting into the PCM mix, be prepared for a LOUD, thumping opening credits song. Keep the volume down a few notches and adjust from there. Either way, bass is excessive, boomy, and loud, even overpowering. Comparatively, the flat dialog doesn’t do much to impress, but it’s clear at least. Dialog recorded live on set and those dubbed have clear separation in clarity.
Other than the trailer, the other bonuses reside on the Blu-ray. Those begin with a lengthy interview with star Jill Schoelen. Donovan Leitch is next, followed by a kill comparison between the R-rated and edited cuts. Finally, there’s a fun VHS promo.
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Chintzy and weird, Cutting Class has a great cast but not a great script to lead them.
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The following six screen shots serve as samples for our subscription-exclusive set of 37 full resolution uncompressed 4K screen shots grabbed directly from the UHD: