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.