Final Exam (1981): Movie Ending, Explained – Who Is The Killer and What Was His Motive?

Final Exam (1981): With the release of Scream (1996), the various slasher films of the eighties became a point of mockery. The stock characters, repeated clichés, and familiar narratives in several films of the Golden Age of Slasher Films would ultimately be deconstructed by Kevin Williamson/ Wes Craven in their remarkable feature.

The campus slasher, Final Exam (1981), is a part of the wave of eighties killer features that rehashed the same formula which was highly prevalent during the era. A low-budget standard fare that borrows aspects from John Carpenter’s Halloween (1978) and Friday The 13th (1980), Final Exam revolves around a bunch of college students as a psychotic murderer stalks and kills them.

In this article, we examine the film’s ending and answer some of the questions in the narrative. As always, a SPOILER ALERT for the entire film.

Final Exam (1981) Plot Summary & Movie Synopsis:

 The film begins with two college students from March College who are making out inside a car near a deserted road. Before they can proceed, they are interrupted by someone hitting their car from outside. Just as the duo can escape, they are attacked by a middle-aged psychotic killer who stabs them to death. The infamous news soon reaches Lanier College students preparing for their final exam before graduation.

Little do they know that the killer has already chosen Lanier as his next destination to unleash carnage and mayhem. Radish (Joel S. Rice), a bookish nerd, soon realizes that something is off and must act in time to save other students, especially his crush, Courtney (Cecile Bagdadi). Can Courtney and Radish escape from the clutches of this diabolical killer?

Who Initiates The Shooting On The Campus?

Early in the film, as the students are giving their chemistry exam, a group of masked men in a van interrupt the campus and begin shooting—causing mass hysteria and outrage. Radish manages to escape and calls the local Sheriff (Sam Kilman). It is later revealed that this shooting was just a prank initiated by some frat bros of the Gamma Fraternity so that one of their fraternal brothers could use the distraction to cheat during the test.

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