Starring: Brittany Snow, Idris Elba, Scott Porter
Director: Nelson McCormick
Running Time: 88 mins
Prom Night is an American film about a girl who prepares for the best evening of her life with her friends, but the arrival of a crazed killer from her past sends the night into sheer terror.
A remake of the 1980 slasher thriller, Prom Night is a throwback to a bygone era. And yet, with this remake, it’s fair to say that there are more reasons than one why the classic slasher has never endured to the present day. Despite a couple of A-listers in Brittany Snow and Idris Elba, Prom Night is a ridiculous, stupid and unbelievably basic thriller that never crafts the necessary tension or sense of fear it’s going for.
In all truth, it’s a problem that I find with the whole genre. No matter what era, whether it be Friday The 13th, Scream or this, there’s something about this brand of slasher movies that’s just so dull and simplistic. Of course, directing, acting and more come into play, making certain films stand out above others, but with a take on the genre as basic and formulaic as Prom Night, there really isn’t anything to rave about.
So, the worst thing about this movie is its story, and just how empty and predictable it is at every moment. A basic slasher premise needn’t be a source for total criticism, but the fact that the film refuses to build upon it in any way is what makes it so underwhelming.
The film follows a prom night that descends into horror when a former teacher-turned-escaped convict returns to the scene, but never really goes into depth about any of the characters, their former relationships with the killer, nor does it bring in any degree of ambiguity or unpredictability about his return, with his seemingly random desire to methodically kill off students over the course of the night coming across as little more than a bit of relief to viewers looking for some blood and guts.
Even some sillier horror clichés would have done the story a world of good, but there’s nothing in the way of character surprises or plot twists, as the film just sits with a basic, tedious premise right to the finish, and then abruptly ends when it’s all finished, without even giving you a moment to breathe a sigh of relief if you were somehow caught up in the story.
So, if you’ve never seen a slasher movie before, this is the barebones of what the genre has to offer, but with absolutely nothing more to offer, it proves a tedious and stupid watch throughout.
And that’s where we come onto the film’s other worst element, the fact that it’s just so ridiculous. While I’m no fan of the cult slasher era of the late 1970s/early 1980s, there’s a certain grit and tension at play in a lot of movies from the period. This film, on the other hand, with its more polished production style and already-dated late-2000s soundtrack, just feels stupid from start to finish.
Alongside a tedious story, every attempt to build tension or fear is completely undone by a combination of poor performances, awkward directing and wooden dialogue, to the point that I never felt affected in the slightest by what could have been a genuinely menacing return of a psychotic ex-teacher, rather finding myself laughing at pretty much every attempt to make things scary.
Overall, then, I wasn’t impressed at all by Prom Night. A stupid, dull and fairly pointless slasher thriller, complete with a painfully basic story, there’s next to nothing about it that could make for either an entertaining or even slightly frightening, and that’s why I’m giving it a 4.5.