Prom Night (2008) Review
Written by: the5thdroog
What’s in a name? This movie was tossed around as being a remake to the semi-classic 1980 version of the same title. Just knowing that and seeing trailers for this PG-13 slasher movie, made me ill. I was really all for boycotting theaters showing this movie, but when I came across passes to an advanced screening, I thought maybe I should just see how bad this movie is and at least I’m won't be contributing towards box-office revenue in the process. I also wanted to at least attempt to give it some sort of fair shake even though it was hard for me to let go of that disdain for the movie I already had…I think I succeeded. Of course, now I’ve seen the movie and I feel a little better, not because the movie was any good…I’ll explain later.
The movie starts out with Donna (Brittany Snow) being dropped off at home from a night out at the movies with her friend Lisa (Dana Davis). She goes into her house thinking everything is okay, but can’t seem to get an answer from anyone in her family about her arrival. She goes into her brother’s room and nearly falls over a baseball bat he has laying about in the floor. She then yells at him and pokes him with the bat only to realize he is dead. This starts her panic and she runs around looking for the rest of her family. She hears her mom scream so Donna hides under the bed. She sees her mom thrown to the floor as the intruder is asking her questions about where Donna is. The mom tells her she’s at a sleep over and then is stabbed in front of her hiding daughter. Donna gets away and runs out of the house after a passing police car. Then she hears the intruders voice behind her. “That is when I wake up.” Is what she tells her therapist about the dream she has had of the actual event that took place 3 years ago.
It has been 3 years and tonight is, of course, prom night. Donna is going out with some of her friends to the huge hotel that has been booked special by the rich girl in her class. Her boyfriend arrives and they get in the limo with her other friends and make their way to the prom. Meanwhile back at the local police station, Detective Winn (Idris Elba), who worked Donna’s case earlier, gets a call that the killer, Richard Fenton (Johnathon Schaech), has escaped the maximum security asylum that he’d been committed to. He has been missing for 3 days. It explains the history of Fenton and how he used to be a teacher who was so obsessed with his student, Donna, that he went crazy and began stalking her. This lead to a restraining order that put him over the deep end and caused him to murder her family. There is anger in wondering why there was such a delay on contacting the local police, but nothing can come of that now. What is done is done. Winn immediately starts searching for Donna. He find out she is at the prom and decides to head out to try and prevent anything going wrong. Back at the prom, one of Donna’s friends has reserved a suite for them and while he is checking in, it just so happens, Mr. Fenton is right behind him and makes sure to get a room on the same floor. This is the set up for your PG-13 slasher movie. What do you think?
The acting wasn’t bad overall. They were annoying to me, but I think that is more the fact of them playing the young easy on the eyes cast. There was the occasional bit player who really must’ve been friends with the director, but mostly the acting was tolerable. I actually didn’t mind Schaech’s performance, but it did lose me at times.
One of the worst parts of the movie was the effects. This is where the movie really loses things for me. How can anyone think they can actually make an effective slasher film with a PG-13 rating. I mean these movies are built on death scenes and carnage. Sure the suspense is nice, but you come for the payoff. There isn’t any here. You see a couple of stabbings off camera, some throat lacerations that have already taken place, and a guy carrying around a large pocket knife as his main weapon. This was all embarrassing to watch.
The directing was also wrong. I mean the beginning of the movie leading up to the prom seemed to be more of a gimmick to try and make sure to plug the movies soundtrack. All background music was some song that can probably be found on the soundtrack. It was like watching some cheese filled video with all this added fluff thrown up on the screen. After it starts with the actual “action”, it almost seems as though the director is reading from a recipe book on how to get an audience to jump. It didn’t work for me.
Now for the reasons I feel better about seeing this movie. The first thing I’m happy about is that it didn’t resemble the first film at all. I don’t know if it was just dubbed as a remake because it has the same name, but the storylines are pretty different, with no mystery to who the killer may be. I’m also glad I saw this because I was right about the movie, it was terrible. Now for the worst part about the movie. As I was sitting in the theater shaking my head at the scenes I’d witnessed before done a lot better in much more original films, the rest of the audience was laughing, jumping, and screaming at the screen. This is why these movies are continually being released. Mindless movies are very easy to produce for a massively ignorant audience. So the movie was bad, but it did fill me with a sense of dread because I seemed to be in the minority by being the only one realizing this fact. A PG-13 slasher movie…do I really need to say anything else.