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Prom Night
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Prom Night (2008)

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Plot Summary:
"Donna's senior prom is supposed to be the best night of her life, though a sadistic killer from her past has different plans for her and her friends."

Review by
Steven Davies
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Review Date: 13 October 2008 My Rating: out of 5


Another day, another horror setting. Adding to the recent slew of 80's horror remakes comes semi-remake 'Prom Night'. A retelling of the popular Jamie Lee Curtis and Leslie Nielsen slasher movie. And even when I say semi I mean that in the loosest fashion possible and there's nothing more than the title that this tame and lame 'remake' shares with its originator.

Brittany bubblegum Snow seeps more sugary and virginal bounce onto our screens this time as bintish Donna Keppel. Donna sadly lost members of her immediate family when a crazed ex-teacher from her school decides to stalk and slash them all in a somewhat twisted method of gaining Donna's affections. Of course this top notch plan falters greatly when he is arrested and committed only to years later escape and stalk Miss Snow once again on the notable eve of her high school prom.

It was an odd choice to reveal the killer so early on the movie and run with it but hey I guess it's better than carbon copying the original for us all to have guessed the outcome 80 minutes before it happened. But even with that in mind there's a mass of cliché up the ying-yang. And whether my negative opinions are fueled by the appearance of spoilt American teenagers and secretly I’m truly jealous that this bunch of sex addicted morons shared something more financially sound than my weak-ass prom night is neither here nor there.

Performances all round a little lackluster to say the least but then the material is nothing noteworthy or even decides at any point to tremble over the line from cliché and stereotyping. Although that said Brit actor Idris Elba, better known to many as Stringer on hit show 'The Wire' still manages to perform solidly with what he has. Schaech, playing the deranged Richard, also should get a well deserved mention.

Within the mess of overlooked plot holes, often used remarkably in the attackers favour, is the longing and needy requirement that the viewer is forever craving - some decent action, some brutal surprisingly killing and not to have to sit and be shown uber amounts of predictable claptrap. The only hope was maybe a possible and shocking twist to end on, but no, even that was missing and I've never felt such an overwhelming sense of elation when bam(!) those credits began a-rolling.

I'm not one to scoff at the lack of gore in a movie but this PG-13 (US)/15 (UK) is as weak as its ratings. It feels long gone are the days of real intense slashers that are as smart as they are brutal. Let's not drain this sub-genre of its energy much longer. Rob Zombie proved it can be still being done right; it just need's someone willing to break the rules and get their hands dirty.

Reviewer: Phil Davies Brown @horrorasylum
Location:Scotland, UK
Review Date: 09 June 2008 My Rating: out of 5

The latest horror remake to hit UK cinema screens is Prom Night, a very different re-imagining of the 1980 Jamie Lee Curtis film of the same name.

In place of Jamie Lee we have Brittany Snow who is perfectly cast as Donna, a high school senior struggling to cope with a catastrophic event three years ago, which saw her orphaned when her science teacher Richard Fenton became infatuated with her and brutally murdered her family.

On the night of Donna’s senior prom, Richard escapes from a mental institution and heads for the grand hotel where the party is in full swing. As the kids have the time of their lives in the ballroom, Richard puts into action his cunning plan to get Donna all to himself. Anyone who tries to stop him won’t be going home.

Sentiment aside, having re-watched the original recently, it wasn’t as good as I remembered, so I was looking forward to this remake. Luckily, this stylish new version borrows only a few basic ideas from the original and instead is a fresh take.

Snow is well supported by Jessica Stroup, Dana Davis, Scott Porter, Kelly Blatz and Collins Pennie. This core group of friends are very likeable (apart from Blatz’s character, who is supposed to be a douche bag) and I immediately felt sympathetic towards Donna. Jonathon Schaech is also a surprisingly effective villain and is actually quite creepy.

The biggest gripe with most critics and horror fans seemed to be the lack of gore. Surprisingly, whilst we never actually see a knife cut flesh we hear it and see the results, but I guess there’s just no pleasing some people. One minute, horror fans claim we see too much and it’s the imagined that’s truly scary, the next minute there’s not enough gore.

Another criticism found frequently in other reviews is the bad acting. Whilst I agree that there were moments of this throughout, I would like to point out that it was by bit part players and none of the main cast.

The kills whilst designed specifically to show very little (as openly admitted by the director himself) are pretty effective, with lots of squishy stabbing sounds and blood splatter to be found. There are even some tense moments (one character has quite a decent chase scene) and a nice build-up of mild dread. There are also a few jump scares to be found here too, and again, none of them are as tacky as snobbish critics made out in their reviews.

Prom Night is a highly enjoyable teen terror flick that has unfairly been bashed by mainstream critics and horror snobs. The same snobs who raved about Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer a decade ago. I am still a firm believer that teens need horror movies too and bearing that in mind, I am of the opinion that Prom Night is the best teen slasher movie since the late 90s slasher boom. It also marked the first time that I can remember being desperate to own a soundtrack CD since I saw The Faculty back in 1999.

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