80’s remakes are up there with cop dramas and Asian remakes in that they’re everywhere you turn. The latest one, “Prom Night” mixes genres in that you have an 80’s horror remake. I’ve never seen the original but did go with my mom to get her opinion on how this compares with the original but for me, personally, this is film that you’ll easily forget a month after you see it.
Donna Keppel (Brittany Snow) is an all-American girl going through high school until her teacher (Jonathan Schaech) becomes obsessed with her and murders her entire family, which Donna actually witnesses. The man is caught and placed in a maximum security insane asylum until what do you know….he escapes…coincidentally three days before Donna’s senior prom. As Donna and her friends’ party the night away the body count rises and Donna will end up having to save her life once again.
I wasn’t expecting anything spectacular with “Prom Night.” I just wanted a great horror film that I could enjoy and that’s where this excels. The movie is very 80’s feeling in the slow build-up to the kills and the obvious ways of figuring out who’s going to die. The characters are all very static and you don’t need to know anything about them to enjoy when they die. The movie also takes a unique spin on things by having an obsessive teacher go after Donna instead of some masked assailant that has a crazy backstory. The movie is also very thin on blood and gore. The massacre of Donna’s family isn’t overdone and for a PG-13 film there’s very little actual killing shown so if you’re not a gore person you’ll be fine with this.
Sadly this film is incredibly cliché. You’re constantly yelling at the screen for the dumb girl not to go into that dark room, or for the jock to look behind him. Within the first 20 minutes you know every character that will live and die. My mother hated this film because the entire plot is changed so fans of the original will be very disappointed. The movie also fails in how slow everything plays out. You already know who the killer is so having that guess factor is entirely removed and you’re never completely scared of the killer. The movie also has extremely abrupt changes from scene A to B. One minute you’re watching the happy moment at the prom then you take a detour and follow the killer, then you switch to following the cop, etc. These changes are very abrupt and you start to wonder if Donna is really the main character since you spend so little time with her. The movie also spends about half the time in the actual prom then you spend the last half in Donna’s house which made me feel a bit misled.
The acting is nothing short of average, all the actors are basically phoning in performances and it shows by how wooden they all appear. Lead star Brittany Snow, who is usually a joy to watch, is the typical movie heroine which means she screams and cries the entire episode. You never root for her character because she comes off as so perfect and pristine and boring. Her friends played by Jessica Stroup and Dana Davis are also the stock friend characters, nothing new there. Donna’s boyfriend played by Scott Porter is the most wooden of the bunch, his entire purpose is to be a human shield or look pretty. The adult characters are all there to do their jobs and none of them are worth mentioning. The killer, played by Jonathan Schaech is just your typical movie villain and comes off as a dull guy you’d meet on the street.
“Prom Night” is just a boring, typical horror movie that brings nothing to the table. I wasn’t expecting much but I left the theater bored as hell. I’d give this a 2/5, save your money for the DVD.