- Rated PG-13
- Buy the BD
All photos © Sony Pictures
Reviewed by Jason Zingale
s far as horror movies go, “Prom Night” ranks right up there with “Black Christmas” and “The Hitcher” as one of the most pointless remakes ever made. The original film wasn’t even a big hit (despite the fact that it starred its generation’s scream queen, Jamie Lee Curtis), and the sequel does very little to expand upon that popularity. The new version isn’t even so much a remake as it is a completely different story with the same title, and though the talented cast helps make the film feel less moronic than it really is, “Prom Night” will still bore you to death.
Brittany Snow stars as Donna Keppel, a high school student whose family was brutally murdered by an obsessed former teacher (Johnathon Schaech), while she was at the movies with a friend. Three years later, Donna is now living with her aunt and uncle, and though she can’t quite put the past behind her, she’s hoping to at least suppress those memories in order to enjoy her high school prom. Unbeknownst to Donna, her stalker has just escaped from the mental hospital where he was locked up, and he’s returned to hunt her down. When the detective (Idris Elba) who worked the original case is informed of the breakout, he sets up a barrier around the site of the dance hoping to stop the intruder from entering. What he doesn’t know is that the killer is already inside.
“Prom Night” is rated PG-13, which means that while it will likely attract a larger audience in theaters, it isn’t even remotely as gory as a slasher film should be. The studio would have been better off risking an R rating and appealing to the hardcore fans instead of allowing director Nelson McCormick to produce this piece of horror-lite. Most of the suspense is pilfered on an ungodly amount of cheap scares (including more than a few involving the old bathroom mirror trick), and the killer isn’t even threatening. All he uses throughout the entire movie is a tiny hunting knife, and, well, he’s played by Johnathon Schaech, whose scariest attribute is that after all these years of slumming it on the C-list, he still thinks he’s a celebrity.
And if that wasn’t enough reason to turn you away, “Prom Night” features some of the most illogical decisions ever made in a horror film. For instance, all Donna’s friend Lisa (Dana Davis) can talk about the whole night is winning the title of Prom Queen, but when the actual winner is only minutes away from being announced, she heads up to the suite with her boyfriend (Collins Pennie) for a little foreplay instead. Not every character is as vapid as she is, and though horror movies are rarely about the performances, “Prom Night” is lucky enough to have some decent actors among the ranks, including star Brittany Snow, Jason Porter (“Friday Night Lights”), Idris Elba (“The Wire”) and James Ransone. It’s hardly enough to save the film from its own stupidity, but it makes watching "Prom Night" that much easier.
Unrated Blu-Ray Review:
The single-disc release of “Prom Night” is loaded with quite a bit of bonus material, but most of it isn’t worth your time. The audio commentary with director Nelson McCormick and stars Brittany Snow and Johnathon Schaech is the highlight of the disc, since everyone involved seems truly excited to be there, while the picture-in-picture storyboard track is a nice addition to the set. Rounding out the extras is standard fare like deleted scenes, a gag reel, and a trio of production featurettes, as well as a short bit where the cast talk about their own prom night memories.