Review: Prom Night (2008)

I saw the new Prom Night remake with Chris Barnes at a preview last night, which is odd as this is Australia and it doesn’t open in its home country until tomorrow. What did we do to deserve such treatment? My full review is on the Horrorscope website.

Prom Night (US-2008; dir. Nelson McCormick)

Reviewed by Robert Hood

This modern slasher-horror film opens with a deceptively clever scene that mingles “teenage” protagonist Donna’s memories of the murder of her parents with her fears regarding the killer. Now, three years later, on the eve of her end-of-school prom night, Donna is once again having nightmares about the psychotic ex-teacher with a murderous obsession for her. Inevitably, of course, despite re-assurances to the contrary, the killer escapes from prison and comes for Donna as the coming-of-age ritual begins…

I find the whole prom night schtick, at least as depicted in American movies, far more bizarre than most of what happens in your average fantasy film, dark or otherwise. I’m sure many Americans find it equally as strange. Basically it appears to involve rich kids being celebrity bitches or assholes [aka arseholes] and strutting about in $2000 gear while agonising over their about-to-be truncated future, investigating the meaning of skin disorders or having sex. Still, it’s at base an end-of-childhood fantasy and this new remake of the 1980s slasher film Prom Night starts off treating it as such. This approach is fine if we must have another film about 20-something actors and actresses pretending to be teenagers, because the film also starts off with a couple of decent scenes that suggest that it might have A Theme (to do with maturation, loss and coping with fear-induced anxiety) – and the two aspects have the potential to complement each other. After all, the writers even include the double-edged, prom-night slasher statement: “You’ll remember this night for the rest of your life!” Alas, however, the film only starts with these things. Somehow the vaguely intelligent thematic stuff gets forgotten, or at least muddled, along the way.

Frankly it’s easier to talk about the less-than-admirable things this remake doesn’t do than it is to talk about the admirable things it does do.

Read the full review here.

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5 Responses to Review: Prom Night (2008)

  1. David C says:

    Do you submit your reviews to the IMDB for listing? It seems a good idea to me.

  2. Backbrain says:

    Yep. They’re all there (unless I forget). 🙂

  3. David C says:

    Good stuff.

    Meanwhile, I’ve been thinking about this American thing called the Prom. I’m sure our view is distorted because our main source of information is Carrie and the like — but maybe not that much.

  4. Backbrain says:

    In Australian schools there is an End-of-Year-12 dance that I know the kids get all spivved up for. But it’s never as high-key and socially critical, and certainly hasn’t been mythologised as much as the US Prom Night. The US school leavers seem to have such high expectations for it — and as we know it always ends in death and disaster.

    Maybe we should be making horror movies about “Schoolies Week”. Hands up all the Americans who know what THAT is!

  5. David C says:

    There was Blurred (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0309380/) but I suspect that doesn’t count. Always vaguely wanted to watch it, but haven’t managed.

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