Rush Week (1989) Review

Rush Week is like so many slasher films that came out in the late 80s. The formula had already been robbed of any originality and the films’ budgets were growing smaller by the second. Still, some of those films, such as Hide and Go Shriek and Rush Week were fun time wasters. Sure, Rush Week doesn’t offer anything new, but certainly doesn’t embarrass itself either.

Pamela Ludwig (resembling Rose McGowan) is Toni Daniels, a journalist student looking for a good story. She finds one when she catches wind that several of the more non-discriminating female students – who pose in sexy clothes, or lack thereof, for a college cook – start turning up missing. Toni, being the crackerjack detective she is, somehow manages to link the girls to the chef to her new sensitive but creepy love interest, Jeff (Dean Hamilton) to the Dean’s (Roy Thinnes) dead daughter to a room in the science building to… Oh geez, I’m sure you get it.

Rush Week doesn’t dwell all that much on the convoluted plot except to lay out Jeff as a potential killer. This movie seems much happier pulling lame-o hi jinks, which really takes up about half of the film’s running time. Like most college students, these kids like to burn off steam – and boy do they, with some of the dumbest and alternatively one of the sickest jokes I’ve ever seen. As if the frat boys were trying to pull a gender bend Terror Train prank, they convince a girl who is being paid to sleep with any guy at the party holding a c-note, to stick around for one more john. She does and boy isn’t it funny when she finds out she’s been screwing a corpse! I mean, isn’t it? Anyone? And the poor girl ends up losing her head – literally – after the discovery. Wow, wasn’t college great?

Luckily, the rest of the film and the Tom-Foolery doesn’t sit at that low brow level. It’s quite playful, if forgettable and the meat of the movie although lacking in any real suspense should manage to hold the interest of slasher fans. With a couple of exceptions, the characters aren’t really ever annoying and the party scenes are fun if just for the bad fashion. And check out The Dickies performing! Now that’s cool. In fact, there’s some pretty off the cuff cameos by not only the Dickies, but also Gregg Allman, Dominick Brascia and Kathleen Kinmont (a girl who should really be in more movies). Roy Thinnes as Dean Grail is pretty good even though one must assume he knew he was slumming it.

There’s really not much else to bring to the table for Rush Week. It’s a derivative but entertaining no-brainer. None of the actors makes asses of themselves and there’s a nice bit of T&A to make up for the lack of gore. It’s a movie you might forget you ever saw, but at the same time you also won’t feel like you’ve lost an hour and a half of your life. Your choice.

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