Rush Week (1989) - USA - Horror - Unrated
Directed by Bob Bralver
Starring Pamela Ludwig, Dean Hamilton, Roy Thinnes, Donald Grant, Courtney Gebhart, John Donovan, Gregg Allman, Kathleen Kinmont
It's Animal House meets The House on Sorority Row in a well paced and produced slasher flick.
Toni, a journalism major, has just transferred to Tambers College and her first assignment for the college paper is to cover rush week, not something she would prefer to write about. Overhearing a conversation about a missing female student, she noses around to find out if there is a story, despite being put off by the dean and others telling her there is no story that the girl just took off and didn't tell anyone. But she is obviously stepping on someone's toes as she receives strange messages via computer while a cloaked, labris (double-edged axe) wielding figure continues killing college girls.
For those looking for a bloody mayhem type of slasher movie along the lines of Friday the 13th, you are not going to find that in Rush Week as the kill count is low and the movie plays more like a detective story combined with a college hijinx movie.
In addition to the underlying story of Toni searching for a killer, there is a secondary story revolving around the BDB (Beta Delta Beta) House fraternity, a group of pranksters and sleazebags just reinstated after having been shut down the previous year. These two running plotlines are not unrelated, but they do also provide a good pacing for the movie as it moves between a slasher thriller and a fraternity comedy.
What impressed me about Rush Week was the quality of the audio, and I mean on the production end, and the camerawork. The audio is well done with solid dialogue and even nuances as trivial as the crushing of a beer can not being overlooked. The photography uses tight framing, and very much to their credit uses natural lens distortion and perspective to create mood. The night shots are also all well lit, and distinctively night, shot with muted colors, near black & white, while still maintaining detail.
What didn't impress me with Rush Week was the 80s insensitivity. Par for course in an 80s fraternity movie there is likely going to be a derogatory reference to gays. Rush Week goes beyond that by having a fraternity rival to BDB, the Gamma Alpha Epsilon House, regular referred to as the GAE House and pranks are pulled on them which center around homosexuality.
Aside from the gay insensitivity issue, which as I previously stated is par for course in some 80s movies, Rush Week is entertaining with good pacing, playing the slasher theme as a detective story, having plenty of humor with the college fraternity part of the story, and of course with a story that is part slasher movie and part frat movie there has to be boobs, and there are!
An interesting footnote is this movie also is the first acting gig for Gregg Allman, the musician, though in only two scenes and with nothing much to say.
My Rating: 3 Fingers
You can find the full movie on YouTube