Prom Night (2008) Review
Prom Night (2008)
Director: Nelson McCormick
Rated 15 for a reason, this disappointing late 2000’s slasher has next to nothing in common with the 1980’s film of the same name except that events take place on a School prom night. Instead it has more in common with modern slashers such as ‘Scream’ and ‘I know what you did last summer’, at least in the look and feel of these examples, which are clearly an influence on director Nelson McCormick.
With this influence most prevalent in relation to the quick cuts in use, unfortunately these cuts are often too quick or too severe, sometimes failing to convey a natural transition from one scene to another. Another gripe regarding these cuts relate to the films violence, which one initially would expect would be done to reach a lower rating but as the uncut version is only a minute or so longer this is not the case and so it appears to be simply bad editing.
Moving on to the film itself, it’s weak plot centres on lead girl Donna, adequately played by Brittany Snow (John Tucker Must Die, Hairspray) who just years earlier came home to see her family butchered by an obsessive teacher. Cut to modern day and the supposed best time of any young American’s girl life – senior prom.
However, her creepy ex-teacher and would-be boyfriend has broken out (surprise surprise) and booked into the very same hotel as the Prom, although I am pretty sure the killer used his characters real name to make the booking, making it very strange that it took the police so long to realise he actually was there.
While a lot more direct than the 1980s version, by jumping immediately to the Prom Period we are deprived of any character development or recognition for anyone, and the audience is left uncaring even for poor Donna, which for a final girl candidate is not a good situation to be in and this is where the film fundamentally falls down and differs from the slasher heyday of the 80s, where no matter the film quality you may care for the final girl (Jamie Lee-Curtis in Halloween and Prom Night) or even sympathise with the Killer to an extent (Pamela Vorhees in F-13 or Billy in Silent Night, Deadly Night).
This flaw adds to the tedium of the film, as without caring for the characters, the result is that you don’t care when they die, and when combined with the weak killings and poor direction, sometimes you don’t even care if they do live or die, or even if they are in the film at all.
This film is basically a modern mainstream attempt at a slasher for the teen masses (similar to the equally bad ‘When a Stranger Calls’ remake) and as a result turns out to be a very dull night of stalking, (pretty bloodless) stabbing and dancing set to a very forgettable soundtrack and leaving very little to recommend about this film which, like its characters, lacks any real depth which is a shame when you have talented people like Idris Elba (Prometheus, Luther, The Wire) and James Ransone (The Wire, Inside Man, Sinister) on your payroll and are capable of so much more if the script allowed it.
More smash hits than slash hits, this film is not recommended even for slasher completists.
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