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Overall Rating

Awesome: 5.56%
Worth A Look: 2.78%
Average: 8.33%
Pretty Bad: 5.56%
Total Crap77.78%

3 reviews, 18 user ratings

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Prom Night (2008)
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by Rob Gonsalves

"Makes the original look like Hitchcock."
1 stars

Just last month we had "Funny Games," Michael Haneke’s shot-for-shot remake of his own 1997 Austrian thriller. Aside from the cast and a few tiny details, the remake duplicated the original film exactly. On the other end of the spectrum, we now have "Prom Night," one of a growing number of RINOs.

Those aren’t Republicans In Name Only (a phrase belonging to political chat, sometimes used to disparage John McCain); they’re Remakes In Name Only. RINOs seem especially prevalent in horror — the recent direct-to-DVD “remake” Day of the Dead is one such specimen. Aside from the milieu and a very basic similarity in premise — psycho on the loose during the prom — Prom Night bears no resemblance to the 1980 Jamie Lee Curtis slasher flick; it simply shares a title.

Not that Prom Night ‘80 was a stunning example of the craft, worthy of slavish emulation; nor is it a sacrosanct classic for which the very idea of a remake is blasphemy. Often, fanboys offended by an unsolicited remake of an adored film will say “Why don’t they remake a bad movie?” Well, they have remade a bad movie, and the result is a worse movie. This Prom Night offers Brittany Snow as Donna, the object of a homicidal science teacher’s fixation. This teacher (Johnathon Schaech) invaded Donna’s home three years ago and murdered her entire family. He was caught and put away for life, but now he has escaped, and two cops (Idris Elba and James Ransone, both late of The Wire) realize he’s making a beeline for Donna on that very special night of a high-school girl’s life, being held at a fancy hotel ballroom.

Brittany Snow is amiable enough, and was entertaining in Hairspray, but Jamie Lee Curtis’ slyly self-amused work in the original Prom Night isn’t threatened by Snow’s whitebread hysteria; the scar on Snow’s forehead (couldn’t that have been written into the script as the result of Donna’s previous run-in with the teacher?) has more personality than she does. In the original, someone was picking off everyone else but Curtis; here it’s all about Donna, and everyone else is just psycho fodder. The implausibilities pile up, but they might be easily ignorable if first-time feature director Nelson McCormick (currently working on a remake of The Stepfather — shoot me now) had any aptitude for suspense. As it is, to provide a cheap jump every few scenes, Donna is constantly being startled by things — her aunt, her boyfriend, and even, on one occasion, a lampshade. Ah, yes, that quiet killer the lampshade. This movie truly performs a public service.

Prom Night ‘80 was full of red herrings and dumb twists, but at least there were twists. Not so with Prom Night ‘08, which simply follows the killer through his paces; he’s unstoppable, but he’s not an evil genius — he just seems to sap the IQ of everyone who crosses his path. This hotel must employ the dumbest maids and bellhops in hotel history. Admittedly I haven’t been to a prom in *coughcough* years, but I don’t remember them looking like the red carpet on Oscar night, with underclassmen behind the ropes like screaming fans when the seniors stroll into the dance. In 1980 we had disco for Jamie Lee to boogie to; in 2008 we have Timbaland and Britney Spears for the kids to fail to dance to. I don’t honestly know which is worse — it’s rotten apples and rotten oranges.

Prom Night: ‘08 Megamix kept me amused with the following: the casting of Blair Witch veteran Joshua Leonard (who’s been working steadily all these years, not that you probably noticed) as The Moronic Bellhop; the casting of James Ransone, whom I vividly remember graphically pleasuring himself and then killing his grandparents in Ken Park, as a detective — yes, a police detective; Mary Mara as a lesbian gym teacher (all female gym teachers in movies are lesbians); and the climax’s shameless steal from the Lecter-evades-SWAT-team sequence in The Silence of the Lambs, right down to the corpse springing down from the ceiling.

I guess it’s true; this killer makes everyone around him stupid, including SWAT guys and possibly the teen audience who made this a #1 hit to the tune of $22 million.

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originally posted: 04/14/08 11:22:43
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Horror Remakes: For more in the Horror Remakes series, click here.

User Comments

2/21/17 morris campbell decent no more no less 3 stars
5/08/12 f waste of time 2 stars
6/01/11 art the only thing from THE classic 1980 original was THE kid's DANCE-MOVES on the floor. 3 stars
10/17/09 DK Complete suckfest. 1 stars
6/03/09 art i would have loved it!,IF IT HAD AN R-RATING AND NOT THAT DUMB PG-13. 1 stars
2/22/09 little Red loved every minute 5 stars
2/07/09 steve awful...just plain awful 1 stars
12/06/08 Shaun Wallner Waste of money!! 1 stars
11/29/08 Rebekah It was pretty good. Brittany Snow did an excellent job. 4 stars
10/31/08 tiffany pettey didnt like the remake at all 2 stars
9/06/08 Xavier Another shitty PG-13 slasher flick 1 stars
8/11/08 George Barksdale Remakes usually aren't very good, like this one 1 stars
4/28/08 Anthony Feor One couldn't possibly classify this as entertainment. 1 stars
4/13/08 Sarah Milah 3 stars
4/12/08 The Universal Guardian Well said...the film was extremely predictable...i laughed at every fake scare... 1 stars
4/12/08 Ryan Sexton the original was 100 times better 1 stars
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  11-Apr-2008 (PG-13)
  DVD: 19-Aug-2008



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