a critiQal film review Prom Night (2008)

  • DVD
  • Blu-Ray

Plot: Donna's (Snow) Senior Prom is supposed to be the best night of her life. After surviving a horrible tragedy, she has finally moved on and is enjoying her last year of high school. Surrounded by her best friends, she should be safe from the horrors of the past. But when the night turns deadly, there is only one person who could be responsible...

746 words (Est. Reading Time 3m 43s)

Ever since Prom Night hit theaters, I’ve been wanting to check out the 1980 Jamie Lee Curtis-starring original film. Since I’d never seen it, I wanted to see how much this new remake would change the story.

Unfortunately, I apparently wasn’t alone in that idea, as the original Prom Night has been on ‘Long Wait’ at blockbuster.com the past few months. Seeing this new film on the racks at Blockbuster® the other day, I figured the original could wait, and decided to give the remake a shot.

So, would I be happy I never haven’t yet seen the original, or would this remake be bad all on it’s own?

The cast of characters is typical of horror remakes – young and pretty with a decent set of lungs. That seems to be about the only qualifying characteristics needed for horror remakes these days – after all, most of these remakes are rather thin on plot, so any actual acting talent the actors possess is largely wasted. If they can scream – and look pretty doing it – they have pretty much nailed down their role.

Unsurprisingly, most of the actors are largely unrecognizable, having only played bit parts in various TV shows (with quite a few going on to appear in the new “90210” TV revival – no big surprise there, right?) and other small guest bits. Among these, Dana Davis stands out as someone to possibly keep an eye on, since she does a decent enough job in her role as Lisa to stand out a bit from the crowd (she’s now appearing in “” as Monica Dawson).

Brittany Snow, the “lead” of the film, has popped up a couple fo times before, most notably in . Despite her small cache of experience, however, she can’t really keep the viewer’s interest for more than a few minutes. Sure, she looks good in a prom dress, but once viewers get past the pretty exterior, Snow has little to offer in Prom Night.

Idris Elba and Johnathan Schaech also put in appearances: Idris as the lead cop; Johnathan as creepy stalker guy. While Idris has a decent screen presence (also noticeable in ), he doesn’t seem to have been given a lot to work with in Prom Night, and spends most of the movie commanding the viewers’ attention, then failing to deliver much of anything important.

Schaech, on the other hand, seems a bit too good at creepy stalker guy. Sure, the character is incredibly simple – a caricature rather than a character – but Schaech manages to bring a perverted air to the guy anyway, making for a villain that should give most anyone a good case of the creeps.

While Prom Night seems to have all the elements of a decent horror remake, there is something missing in the execution. Maybe it’s the complete vapidness of the characters (despite people disappearing throughout the film, their departure is brushed off with barely a second thought) – but that vapidness seems to invade each section of the movie, making for a film that just seems to be going through the motions, rather than really trying to engage the viewer.

The film also seems to want to include some of the more over-used cliches from horror films of the past (including the ever-present horror film morale sex=death; seclusion on an upper floor when a killer is known to be on the loose) and does so without even a chuckle (take note from – if you’re going to put some of these cliches in your horror flick, do yourself a favor and poke a little fun at yourself – viewers need a bit of a laugh if they are going to buy into cliches these days). Again, the film seems to be just going through the motions, rather than really trying to create any sort of tension or fright.

As expected, Prom Night is little more than an updated version of the classic for today’s teens, and has little to recommend it to anyone over the age of 16. Vapid characters and a film that just feels like it’s going through the motions largely cancel out even the decent performance by Dana Davis and the perverted creepiness brought to the screen by Schaech, making Prom Night largely forgettable.

Not an awful film – but not something viewers will remember for a very long time either. A rental isn’t out of the question, but don’t go in looking for much more than cheap thrills.

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