Prom Night (2008)

Prom Night (2008)

A Night To Die For.

Richard Fenton is a deranged teacher who becomes infatuated with Donna, one of his students, and eventually ends up killing her entire family in his obsessive lust. He’s locked away in an maximum security prison and she moves in with her aunt and uncle. Three years later, it’s prom night and Donna and her friends attend a lavish party at the Pacific Grad Hotel. But Fenton has escaped from prison and heads to the prom to be with her forever.

 

Dear me, when will the onslaught ever cease? Once again, devoid of any original ideas, the suits in the studios just hire some generic script writer to remake another popular 80s horror flick. After all, if a film was popular in the 80s, surely re-writing the story into a modern setting can have the same impact? Unfortunately what the suits and these generic writers don’t realise is that the 80s was all about the boom in the home video market and trashy hits like the original Prom Night quickly gained a cult following with teenagers renting and buying forbidden videos for the first time (or even sneaking copies off their parents or elder siblings). The slasher film used to be the scourge of the censors and become top shelf items. Nowadays, the slasher film has been watered down so much that studios throw out a generic effort every couple of months into their cinema schedules simply because they are an easy cash cow.

It pains me to hear people say “When A Stranger Calls was scary” or even worse, “Halloween is rubbish because there’s no gore.” Prom Night is hardly going to change the attitudes of anyone involved. The suits and writers get lots of cash, the dumb teenagers think they’re watching the greatest thing ever, and genre fans like me just continually puke up and then laugh at the sorry state of what was once a massive sub-genre. In the same vein as the recent ‘remake’ of April Fool’s Day, Prom Night simply borrows the name of the original, some vague remnants of the plot and basically starts from scratch and turns into it’s own film. Thankfully this means I can avoid comparing the two and devote my time to slagging it off.

Prom Night is a slasher film without any of the essential slasher ingredients – slasher-lite if you would. This slasher tones down the gore and violence to almost non-existent levels. If I’m watching some dude killing teenagers, I want to see blood spurting from every cut and wound and I want to see some sweet, inventive kills. That’s what made these films popular in the first place. Also, where are the chicks dropping their tops? T&A was a mainstay of slasher films (and it still is in many straight-to-DVD slashers, it’s just these mainstream bollocks that don’t have it). Take away that and the slasher film is just an empty shell. It’s even worse when the rest of the film is just rubbish.

Director Nelson McCormick just doesn’t know how to create any sort of scares or tension. At no point during the film could I even class a scare as a ‘boo moment’ – even other z-grade flops have cats jumping out in front of the camera for good measure. Most of the kills are in well lit areas like bathrooms or bedrooms and no attempts are made to try and make something of them. There’s even one lousy throwaway scene where the killer stalks a potential victim through the convenient plot contrivance of part of the hotel being sealed off for renovation. Cue little lighting, lots of hiding places and lots of artificial ways to create tension by having someone pop out from behind a wooden board. It’s lazy writing at its best.

The cast and characters are picture perfect and lead dream lives. These are good-looking kids with illegally-white teeth, massive homes, rich parents and hang around in social circles with like-minded people. Even the nerds look like catalogue models. Does everyone lead these millionaire lifestyles? Hell no. So why writers insist on having their characters be snotty rich brats, I’ll never know. It makes me hate them even more for being so perfect. This is the type of film where the cast don’t matter. You’ll never hear of most them again as they’ll fade away into TV show hell. It’s the sort of inoffensive film that most actors can have on their CV because they know no casting director is going to bother watching it to see how the actor performs. It’s just an easy pay cheque. I’m actually quite surprised not to see some ‘named actor’ thrown in the film simply to put their name onto the front cover.

 

After reading this review, can you tell that I didn’t like this film? Prom Night is the blueprint horror film that gives you all the evidence you need to proclaim how dead and buried the slasher genre is when the money men in the studios get hold of it. Give it back to the fan boys in the straight-to-DVD market where it now belongs.

 

 ★☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆ 

 

 

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