Prom Night is quite a well known slasher from 1980, more so for the fact it features 'scream queen' Jamie Lee Curtis, but what about it's sequels? Well Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II focused on an old Prom Queen who returns from hell to exact revenge after dying on Prom Night many years ago, as did the third film Prom Night III: The Last Kiss. Both ok in their own rights, but not up to the slasher standards of the first film. But when it came to making a fourth film, the producer's took a different road, and decided upon a new story to revitalise the series. But did it work? 1957- Hamilton High. A young couple escapes from a boring prom, to take residence in a car. While enjoying a bit quick kiss they are suddenly set upon by a mad Priest, Father Jonas, who proceeds to slash them up and blow up the car! Flash forward thirty-five years to 1992- we are introduced to four friends, who plan to make their prom night extra special, by not even turning up! Instead they decide to go to a house in the woods, and have their own private party. Meanwhile we find out that Father Jonas has been locked in a church basement ever since the murders, and he has chosen now to escape. Heading to the same house, he soon sets his eyes on the teens, as his next victims...
1992 really did seem to be the year of the 'mad priest' as 'Happy Hell Night' was also released another tale of a mad priest killing off teens. But thankfully Deliver Us From Evil (it's sole title in the UK, the Prom Night 4 dropped) proves to be the better of the two. The killer, Father Jonas, is a great creation, the audience being left unsure if he's possessed (as the other Priests believe) or just mad. James Carver, who plays Jonas, has a really menacing look about him, and his muttering is generally creepy. The four teens (and a child) Jonas sets his sights on in the film are all played well, Nicole DeBoer standing out as the sympathetic final girl Meagan. The fact there is only a small cast adds to the film as it enables the audience to care for the characters, and get drawn into the situation with them.
The setting of the house in the middle of nowhere helps the film, as it adds a sense of isolation to the picture, especially as the teens are left there without even a car to try and escape in. Also the fact it used to be Jonas' old monastery adds a bit of back-story to the building, and giving him a reason to turn up. The director Clay Boris uses the house full extent, from the wine cellar, to the roof, all the rooms take part in the film, whether during character interaction or the chase scenes that take up the latter part of the film. He also places many suspenseful scenes into the film, the highlights including the phone calls Jonas makes to Meagan, a scene where someone tries to escape by climbing over the roof with Jonas stabbing through frantically beneath them... only for him to hit target, and the barn finale.
Jonas' weapon of choice is actually a sharpened crucifix, which adds to the religious undertones present throughout the movie (surprisingly as it is about a killer priest). Also the gore and deaths are done very well, from the opening throat slashing, to a messy foot stabbing, and a superb shot of one of the couples roasting on two big crosses, the bodycount of seven surprised me, then again though two happen in the first couple of minutes. But really the flick doesn't have to rely on death after death as it is perfectly able to sustain the audience's attention throughout.
Deliever Us From Evil was a surprise for me, beating my low expectations to a pulp. Even though it's fourth in a series (yet I get the feeling it wasn't originally planned to be in it), it is a very sucessful slasher, with one creepy killer, decent characters, and a great atmosphere. While it's not the best, it stands high above many others... so go give it a try!