Cutting Class (Special Edition): 4K UHD Review

Much like his Ocean’s 11 co-star George Clooney, actor Brad Pitt got his start appearing in various television shows and low budget features. While Clooney appeared in such horror-comedies as 1987’s Return to Horror High and 1988’s Return of the Killer Tomatoes, Pitt got his first major role one year later in 1989’s Cutting Class which arrives on 4K UHD this week, courtesy of MVD Rewind’s LaserVision Collection. Sure, these stars aren’t too proud of being in these direct-to-video features, but everyone had to start somewhere and many of us love to watch the soon-to-be-stars make their way through some of these terrible films. Just because they might be bad, doesn’t mean they can’t be fun to watch. Cutting Class definitely fits that bill.

Years before getting behind the camera for Cutting Class, Rospo Pallenberg worked on 1977’s truly awful, Exorcist II: The Heretic, contributing as an uncredited writer and director of John Boorman’s film. That sequel didn’t help anyone’s career. Cutting Class wound up being Pallenberg’s first and last outing as a credited filmmaker and it probably would have become lost-to-time if one of its’ leads didn’t go on to become a huge Hollywood star.

With her district attorney father (Martin Mull) going away for a hunting trip, Paula (Jill Schoelen) is happy to have the house to herself for a few days. Unfortunately, someone else had had hunting plans as well and it wasn’t for any kind of game. Not only is Paula’s father shot in the chest with an arrow by a mysterious figure, but someone started going on a killing spree at Paula’s high school. There are multiple suspects. Could it be Paula’s jealous boyfriend Dwight (Brad Pitt), the school principal Mr. Dante (Roddy McDowall) or could it be Brian (Donovan Leitch), Dwight’s former friend who was recently released from a mental institution? While many would think it’s gotta be Brian, I wasn’t so sure. Each character seemed to be kind of off, especially the principal.

I had never seen Cutting Class prior to this release, and it helps that it features a capable cast. I liked Schoelen in films like The Stepfather, Popcorn and 89’s Phantom of the Opera. She is very good at playing a likable lead. Leitch also does a great job of playing someone who is obviously quite messed up from his past experiences and Pitt is believable as the jerkish high school jock who doesn’t like Brian hanging around Paula. There are some fun kills on display, which you would want in any respectable (or not-quite-respectable) slasher.

This 2018 4K restoration was sourced from the original 35mm camera negative and presented in 2160p with HDR. Considering that the movie never made it to cinemas, the new 4K presentation will undoubtably be the best looking presentation to anyone who has never taken a look at the original 35mm print, which is probably anyone who didn’t direct, edit or release it.  The restoration is quite impressive, especially in brightly lit scenes like the high school basketball game and the daytime suburban Los Angeles locations. Facial features and skin tones are also quite detailed. We get an LPCM 2.0 Mono audio track which is honestly good enough for a film like Cutting Class. 80’s slashers never needed 5.1 audio and the 2.0 Mono track actually ads to the feel of the low budget film. Everything sounds crisp and clear.

I doubt Cutting Class will make anyone’s top slasher flicks list but if you are someone like me who enjoys seeing actor’s humble beginnings and having a little fun with it, you may want to pick up this release here.


  • 2018 4K Restoration (from the 35mm original camera negative) and presented in 2160P HD in its original 1.85:1 aspect ratio in HDR
  • Audio: LPCM 2.0 Mono
  • Optional English Subtitles
  • Original Theatrical Trailer


  • 2018 Scan and restoration of the main feature presented in 1080p HD in its original 1.85:1 aspect ratio.
  • Audio: LPCM 2.0 Mono
  • Optional English and Spanish Subtitles
  • Interview with star Jill Schoelen
  • Interview with star Donovan Leitch
  • ‘Kill Comparisons’ featurette
  • R-Rated / Edited Version of ‘Cutting Class’
  • Original Theatrical Trailer

By: Marc Ferman