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Prom Night [Blu-Ray]

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By Clint Morris

“Three years ago… a high school teacher got obsessed with a female student… He went psycho!… He’s been in a maximum security prison until three days ago.” –detective-who-got-his-badge-out-of-a-wheaties-box says to younger, dumber colleague.

Donna Keppel (Edie Falco look-a-like Brittany Snow) once witnessed her family being slaughtered by a maniac (Johnathon Schaech), but she’s a lot better these days, and the only thing on her mind is her Senior Prom. Its going to be, like, totally rad!
Little does Donna know that the chap who knocked off her family a few years earlier has just escaped from Prison. Can you guess where he’s headed?

We’ve never had Prom Night in Australia – instead, most of us lost our cherries in the back alley behind a nightclub, or at a Deb, which I guess is our equivalent to a Prom? – and after witnessing one in full bloom, I now know why : They’re as boring as micro-waved chippies, and the night seems to revolve around four or five kids (as it does here), forgetting about the rest of the class who have been looking forward to the evening just as much. Who wants to go to that!?

Maybe it’s just “Prom Night”, the movie, that’s dull and ridiculous? Whatever the case, I’m not interested. In either.

Ten years ago we – or rather Wes Craven (“Scream”) – were making fun of films like this. How did we end up back up where we started? The nonsensical clichéd horror films with big-breasted pimple-less beauties being chased around by homicidal maniacs (in this case, at a Prom) are suddenly all the rage again? What?

Where did all the good ideas go? When did it become a mandate in Hollywood that each and every studio must have a minimum of twelve remakes a year on their production slate?

“Prom Night”- which comes hot on the heels of the unnecessary remakes of 80s horror faves “The Hitcher”, “When A Stranger Calls, “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” and “The Hills Have Eyes” – does very little to disguise itself as something new and fresh. In fact it doesn’t even try to be anything other than a cheap, kid-friendly version of the Jamie Lee Curtis-starring original.

If these types of films were good for anything in the 80s it was for scaring the bejesus out of us – or the girl we were out on a date with (who you’ll soon be hoping jumps on your knee, or grabs your arm!) – and pouring buckets of corn syrup over its scantily clad cast. Not only does everyone remain dressed in Nelson McCormick’s remake, they also don’t get covered in blood, or nor are they killed in nifty ways. Yes, they are killed – but the camera is so quick to turn from the slaughter, that you almost expect most of the cast to turn up alive in the final five minutes of the film (a’la the comical moment at the end of the “Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang” where Val Kilmer’s thought-dead character, Gay Perry – as well as Elvis, and a bunch of other seemingly dead folk – turn up alive). The film is even more of a tease than its female characters (which isn’t saying much, considering the girls in the film seem to be more interested in dancing than doing it doggie-style and drinking daiquiris – unrealistic or what!?). It’s insulting.

I get it, kids are the biggest cinema-going audience around – but even they’ll be expecting a little more from a horror movie than a few cheesy pop tunes, a man chasing virginal teens down flights of staircases (yep, that’s about as scary as it gets), and a bunch of pretty young actors sprouting such ingenious lines as “If he were any dumber, I’d have to water him”. If you’re going to make a horror movie, you should at least have to stick within the guidelines of making a horror movie: gore, blood, scares, decapitations and genuinely suspenseful stalkings. This is just lame, tame… and, er, Sony’s to blame.

Horror movies have always been dumb, but because there’s not a lot to keep you entertained here, the plot holes and stupidity of “Prom Night” shines through even more – there’s the cops who constantly drop their guard; the heroine, knowing too well a killer is out to get her, running back into a building that’s being evacuated; the fact that nobody seems to lock their doors or windows an therefore the killer can easily get into homes… the list goes on. It’s laughably retarded.

Blu-Ray Details and Extras

Heaps of stuff on this beautiful-lookin’ disc – including commentaries with the director and cast, some deleted scenes, alternate ending, blooper reel, numerous featurettes, and a picture-in-picture storyboard feature which is pretty original.

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About Caffeinated Clint

The writer/publicist/producer who wears the editor hat on Moviehole. Favorite films include "Say Anything...", "The Hunt for Red October", "Jerry Maguire", "Almost Famous", "Die Hard", "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo", "Young Guns", "American Psycho", "Back to the Future" and the "Star Wars" series.
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