The film was Brad Pitt's first major role, and was the spark of his career as both an actor and a sex icon.
The plot revolves around the return of Brian Woods (Leitch), a "problem teen," to his high school. He has just been released from a mental hospital; he was committed after the suspicious death of his father. He falls in love with classmate Paula Carson (Schoelen), but the local basketball star Dwight Ingalls (Brad Pitt) is already Paula's boyfriend. Meanwhile, the lecherous school principal also seeks unfortunate Paula's affections. Then horrible murders start happening, with no one certain of the identity of the culprit. The main suspects are Dwight, whose control of his anger has never been perfect, the mysterious Woods, who may not have been fully cured at the sanitarium, and the disgusting principal, who seems to stop at nothing in his attempts to bed Paula.
The film opens with a Paperboy delivering newspapers around the block. We see a glimpse of a headline about someone being "released." A paper is delivered to Paula Carson's house, and she enters the scene in a long T-shirt to fetch the newspaper. Paula is then approached by her father, Bill, who is an attorney, and we learn of his hunting trip. He warns Paula to do her homework, no boys in the house and most importantly "No Cutting Class." Paula then puts the Newspaper in the bin and we see the whole headline. It says: "Boy who killed father released from Mental Asylum."
Bill Carson drives to the swamps for his hunting trip, in an attempt to "bag a mallard." As he takes shots into the air, someone is hiding nearby and holding a set of Bows and arrows. The person calls over to Bill Carson and fires an arrow into him. Bill cries out and then falls down to the ground.
Enter Dwight Ingalls. Dwight inserts a cassette into the stereo of his car. The stereo plays excerpts from "Nearer to Morning" by "Wall of Voodoo." Dwight speeds and is all over the road. As he checks his stereo he moves into collision with another car. Dwight looks up and notices and quickly steers the car out of the way. Meanwhile a young boy is peddling a tricycle on the road, near his mom. The young boy rides out in front of Dwight's car and Dwight swerves out of the way. The boy then says "Let's do that again Mommy!" Dwight pulls up beside them and cheekily says "Same time tomorrow?" Dwight then enters class late and quietly sneaks in. When Dwight sits down we see Brian. After arriving late in Mr Conklin's science lesson, Dwight notices Brian has been released and is now back at high school. Dwight is immediately asked questions by Mr Conklin, which is provided by a nerd sitting nearby who whispers the answers to him. Dwight tells the nerd to "Shut up" when he teases Dwight for not knowing what H2O is.
Enter Gym Class. Colleen and Paula are taking out gym equipment. Paula then walks past a set of Bows and arrows and notices a leaf hanging off the arrow. Paula picks it off and then eats it. Brian staring at Paula whilst leaning on a rope, next to Dwight. Coach Harris notices Brian checking out Paula and tells him to "Keep it in your pants" and orders him to climb up the rope he is leaning on. Dwight sees this as an opportunity to humiliate Brian, and begins pulling on the rope so that Brian loses his grip. Colleen and others start laughing at Brian as Dwight says to him, whilst swinging from side to side; "Come on Brian, all the way to the top big guy. Come on you can do it". Brian then loses his grip completely and falls to the ground. Coach Harris approaches him when he hits the floor and yells "Brian Woods, What are you doing?!" Brian is then unfairly made to do 30 push-ups.
Enter Hot Dog stand. Colleen and Paula, and Gary are waiting for Dwight outside the Hot dog stand. Brian approaches them and Colleen immediately insults Brian, she then teases Paula implying that Brian has a crush on her. Dwight then pulls up in his car, and starts talking to Paula. He asks her to go to her house, as her father is away, which would give them the opportunity to be alone together. Dwight then goes to buy Paula a Hot Dog, but is beaten by Brian who hands her one. When Dwight comes back, he tells Paula to get in the car, and makes it clear to Brian that they aren't friends anymore and to leave him and Paula alone. They all then drive off in Dwight's Car.
long story short...Brian and Paula become friends and she starts to trust him. Dwight warns her to stay away from him. A teacher is murdered in the copy room and the students notice that the killer made copies of the killing on the copy machine. You can see the teacher's face smashed into the copy machine glass and a ring on the killers finger. The ring belongs to Dwight! Soon the think that Dwight (Brad Pitt) is the killer instead of Brian. Brian planned it that way. Brian tries to kill Paula, Dwight, and a math teacher in the school and the janitor happens to be around at the time. Every classroom they run into Brian starts talking to Paula and the math teacher through the PA in the principal's office. He knows their every move! Paula still thinks that Dwight is the killer and she is still running from him. Soon Brian goes into the classroom after hacking the math teacher to death. Dwight enters and gets Brian off of Paula and they run out to the Shop class and hide. Brian knows they are in there and so he follows them while locking them in and turning on all the equipment. Brian corners Dwight and puts his head in a vice and points a drill towards his face. Paula ends up striking Brian in the head with a claw hammer tool, making him fall onto a moving circular saw, which goes right through his torso as Paula frees Dwight. They leave the school and are in Dwight's car and all of a sudden they see a man running down a hill and it's Paula's dad - he has been on a trip but in actuality he was the lawyer that put Brian in the crazy home. Brian had kidnapped Paula's dad and he had escaped and made it home. Paula points out that it is her dad, he is on the road now but Dwight can't come to a stop because Brian had cut the brakes earlier. They swerve and miss hitting Paula's dad. All he says is, "Did you cut class?" And the movie is over.