Film Review: SEMESTER’S END (2008)

SEMESTERS END * USA 2008 Dir: Zach Bressler 71 mins 

A killer is on the loose of a college campus and as young girls are being picked off one at a time by a shadowy stalker,  teaching assistant Rachel (Allison Bloch) is starting to worry that she might be next. The womanizing professor she was having an affair with is the prime suspect yet Rachel is getting increasingly concerned by the shifty looking janitor that seems to be paying her a lot of attention.
Naturally she does what all self respecting females would do (I say this with tongue placed firmly in cheek) and hooks up with a student who vows to protect her. Done in quite a lazy and nonchalant manner this is stupidly obvious in it’s misdirection. So much so you already know who the killer is by the halfway point, yet they still keep trying to mislead you. It may have come across as slightly more believable if the characters acted a little bit more like actual human beings placed in these situations rather than the cold, uncaring, distant and fake portrayals we are given . For example; a gruff police detective manages to use the most vapid line of questioning whilst being oblivious to everything around him. Another prime example of the lack of effort is the pervy professor apparently being on the run decides to return to the college cleverly disguised wearing … wait for it… a baseball cap. There is not much in the way of horror either (unless you are counting the acting) as the few kills in this are all off screen, the stalker remains unseen and the effects are minimal. They try to add a horror element by incorporating some nightmarish dream sequences which just seem confused and fall rather flat.  Considering its only 10 years old it hasn’t aged well in terms of set design, costume and overall feel in general which just felt tired. There are a couple of good features though. One being the soundtrack which is pretty effective and quite 80’s but you do need a strong appreciation of the xylophone to fully enjoy it. The opening title sequence is also pretty cool. Another good point was the literature that Rachel liked to immerse herself in and the fact she was teaching the works of Edgar Allan Poe to her students but that is where the good stuff ends the rest of it I found bland and unappealing.

Review by Sarah Budd

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