For most people high school is horrible, for the students in “Prom Night,” it’s a true nightmare.
In a remake of the 1980 original starring Jamie Lee Curtis, this version stars Brittany Snow as Donna Keppel, a traumatized high school senior who witnessed the killing of her family three years ago.
The psycho, played by Johnathon Schaech with a permanent sneer, has now escaped from the maximum-security mental institution where he was being held. Now he has come back for Donna, and arrives just in time to victimize everyone at her prom.
Although this is a true slasher film with the pretty heroine and the demented serial killer, there is little violence in the actual movie.
While the killer knocks off his prey one by one, scarcely any blood is shown and the victims don’t even have holes in their clothes where the knife would have gone in.
Because the film earned its PG-13 rating, the slasher film has virtually no gore, separating itself from torture flicks like “Hostel” and “Saw.” Even though it’s nice to not have scenes splashed with bright red blood just for the sake of it, it lends a sense of incredibility that people are viciously murdered and they don’t even have bloodstains on their clothes.
There are many moments throughout the movie that simply scream cliché. A young woman runs from the killer and breaks her high heel, thus leaving her even more vulnerable while the murderer is stalking her.
One teenage boy acts like a jerk and is immediately killed off, thus keeping in the tradition of certain characters deserving to die in horror films. These standards may be annoying to some viewers, but luckily “Prom Night” has solid acting to back up its many unbelievable circumstances.
Snow truly brings to life the role of Donna – she is helpless and tough at the same time. And while the script may be lacking in originality, the audience never feels frustrated with Donna’s actions. Even while her friends are being killed one by one upstairs in their rented hotel suite, she still tries to have fun at the prom.
The other standout actor is Idris Elba, the hard-hitting cop who was assigned to Donna’s case. He delivers his lines with intense stares, and still manages to be believable even when he’s making incredibly stupid police decisions (really, you would order only one cop to watch over Donna?) It is Elba along with Snow that gives the movie its only remotely realistic qualities.
The dialogue is often stiff and stereotypical. The teenage boys only discuss going upstairs to their hotel suites to get lucky on prom night, the girls gossip about the potential prom queen, and the cops only speak in police talk like “Close down all the exits…we’re going to flush him out.”
Although this movie will not be winning any Oscars or earning rave reviews, it is suspenseful and there are enough moments that make the audience jump to warrant it as a worthwhile film.
Erin Konrad can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.