DEADLY LESSONS (1983)
Article 4982 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by William Wiard
Featuring Donna Reed, Larry Wilcox, David Ackroyd
What it is: TV-Movie Mystery thriller
A serial killer is knocking off girls at an exclusive school. Is it the school’s headmistress? The new student? Someone else on the staff? One of the other girls?
The presence of a serial killer is the horror element here, but despite that, this one doesn’t quite make the leap into horror territory. That’s because it doesn’t use the serial killer like a horror creation; there are hardly any stalking scenes, the murders take place off the screen, and in some cases you don’t even get a chance to see the dead body. In fact, it’s treated more as a mystery; the movie spends a lot of its running time on the police investigation or the attempts of the girls to figure out the killer’s identity. As a mystery, it’s not too bad; trying to figure whodunit is fun, and the characters actually become a bit more likable as the story continues, but that last phenomenon may be due to the fact that it’s the unpleasant characters that get knocked off. I rather liked the film, but that’s because I warmed to its mystery approach; those expecting a full-blown horror movie will be bored quickly by this one.