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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 Peter Sobczynski

"To Sir With Blood"
1 stars

Has it really come to this? Has Hollywood run so completely dry of ideas that they are now reduced to remaking the likes of “Prom Night”? Yeah, I know that remaking the slasher movie classics of a couple of decades ago is all the rage but at least with the recent retreads of “Halloween” and “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre,”the filmmakers at least had the good taste to choose great and memorable movies to debase with their hackwork. However, the original 1980 version of “Prom Night” was nothing more than an anonymous Canadian tax-shelter movie that offered nothing to the genre except for a killer title, the sight of Jamie Lee Curtis in a glammed-up version of her star-making role in the original “Halloween” and the admittedly terrifying sight of a pre-“Airplane!” Leslie Nielsen disco-dancing. As it is only remembered today by old-school slasher movie fans, it is hard to understand why the filmmakers would have chosen this particular title to rehash for another generation–were the rights to “Happy Birthday to Me” too difficult to acquire?

Perhaps as a tacit admission as to the utter banality of the original film, this version of “Prom Night” retains nothing from the previous film other than the title and the idea of dumb kids being slaughtered during their senior prom. This time around, Brittany Snow plays Donna, a teen dream whose freshman year was marred when one of her teachers (Jonathan Schaech) became romantically obsessed with her and wound up slaughtering her entire family before her eyes before being apprehended by the police. Alas, despite mounds of evidence and the eyewitness testimony of a white blonde girl, the jury decided that he was insane and sent him off to an asylum thousands of miles away. Three years pass and while Donna and her pals are readying themselves for the prom, Teach breaks out of the bobby hatch and begins to make his way to his beloved–inexplicably, it takes three days for word of this to reach the local authorities and by the time the cop who handled the original case (Idris Elba) gets wind of what has happened, everyone has already arrived at the luxury hotel where they will be dancing and dicing the night away. Alas, Donna’s guardians don’t want the cops to put her into protective custody–sure, there is a maniac on the loose but they don’t want to ruin her self-esteem and besides, if they do, the movie ends right there and then–so the cops merely hang around in the lobby while the killer is upstairs hacking his way through the supporting cast before revealing himself to Donna.

Like a lot of recent slasher movies, “Prom Night” is a lazy bit of hackwork but this time around, the killer is almost as lazy as the film itself. Instead of having him stalking through the hallways of the hotel, the film has him hide out in the suite rented by the gang and wait until the lesser players go upstairs one by one. As a result, we get a seemingly never-ending string of scenes in which someone enters the suite, calls out the name of whomever was in there before them, becomes startled by a background noise that sounds like a ferret trapped in drywall, bumps into a lamp or bed for a False Scare and then have Mr. Chops jump out at them for the Real Scare. (On the bright side, the dead don’t have to sit through the inevitable prom photo montage set to “Time of Your Life.”) The only variation comes when the villain chases one victim through the stairwells and into an area under construction–obviously, he is on unfamiliar ground here, so his victim helps him out by cracking a heel, falling down a flight of stairs, knocking over a bunch of paint cans, getting attacked by a John Woo movie and tripping over the train of her dress. This scene was obviously designed to be suspenseful but while I was watching it, all I could think of was that scene in “Scary Movie” where Shannon Elizabeth deliberately broke her leg in order to make it easier for the killer to catch her. Of course, that particular scene was supposed to be funny, though this one gets bigger laughs without even trying.

Outside of a brief clip from “Can’t Hardly Wait,” there is absolutely nothing in “Prom Night” that is even remotely scary–the suspense is non-existent, the characters are so blandly drawn that we don’t care about them at all and there isn’t even any creative gore on display, thanks to the all-important PG-13 rating. Essentially, the film is little more than a string of the hoariest horror cliches known to mankind repeated ad nauseam until it reaches a feature-length running time. We get several examples of the trick where someone closes a mirrored door and suddenly discovers the reflection of someone behind them. There are numerous sequences in which something horrible happens and then it turns out that it was all a dream. Once or twice, one of the kids finds themselves looking right at the mad teacher–someone whom they would probably remember from freshman year–and then find themselves wondering aloud where they have seen that face before. The only surprise comes at the very end when the film doesn’t deploy the old trick of having the presumably dead villain pop up for one last lunge before being killed for good–I can only assume that even he was too embarrassed by the proceedings to return for one final go-around.

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originally posted: 04/11/08 18:29:53
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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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