Simply Awful Remakes—-“Prom Night (2008) Review

This movie could have been something special! I LOVE the original 1980 Prom Night, one of the “Jamie Lee Curtis Scream Queen Classics”. It is a very underrated slasher with one of the better whodunit mysteries. It has brutal death scenes, including one graphic decapitation that has a spectacular aftermath. The characters are well-developed, and the film had a good use of forward momentum story-wise.

When the remake was announced in 2004 (will the story have more of a supernatural bent?), I was genuinely excited. Not too many people know of Prom Night, and it is a little dated (disco dancing scene, anyone?), so it was the perfect candidate for an update. Out of nowhere, it was decided that the new Prom Night would be shot with a PG-13 in mind. Now, the thought of a PG-13 slasher flick seemed like an oxymoron to me. But the PG-13 rating has slowly been getting braver and bolder, so maybe not all hope was to be lost for the remake. Too bad that was wishful thinking.

Brittany Snow stars as Donna, a bright-eyed high school freshman. A teacher obsessed with her visits her home and kills her family in his search for Donna. He is quickly caught and sent to jail. Three years later he escapes from his institution just in time to crash the senior prom Donna is attending with her friends at a fancy hotel. (That is literally the whole film in a nutshell.)

The remake was HORRIBLE. It’s incredibly by-the-numbers. The storyline was better suited to a Lifetime movie-of-the-week than a theatrical slice-and-dice. While having a decent opening and setup, the plot was stupid. Taking out the mystery severely hurt the movie. Knowing who the killer was lessened any suspense the movie could have had. The characters were weak and interchangeable. If it weren’t for hair color and race, I would not have known who was who. While Jonathan Schaech as the obessesive teacher-killer was slightly inspired, his character lacked motive and menace. Can we talk about stupid character moves to serve the plot? The death scenes were also non-existent and incredibly bland. In fact, BLAND if the perfect word for the whole movie. Actually the acting isn’t too bad, but it’s nothing stellar. I’m actually having a hard time recalling much of the movie because it is just that forgettable. I’ve seen much scarier and more intelligent episodes of Nickelodeon’s Are You Afraid of the Dark?.

Had the movie strived to be an R-rated hardcore slasher with nice gore, I could be more forgiving, but this is the epitome of a lazy cash-in remake.
(Sidenote: Has anyone attended a prom where NO girl had a fancy intricate updo?)