Prom Night (2008)

Like a graduation ball held in a bucket of dog excrement, Prom Night has no redeeming features. It is vapid, incredibly dull, frustrating and pointless. Throw out your corsage, burn your dress and stay at home – Prom Night is not worth your attention.

The premise is this: rich, vacuous self-centered “teens” attend an ostentatious prom at a luxurious hotel. Unfortunately, a psycho murderer turns up and stabs people. A lot. It is “slightly” more complicated that this, as the murderer is an escaped prisoner who is obsessed with one of the prom girls (Donna Keppel – played by Brittany Snow). He’d previously murdered her family because he was in love with her, and now he’s back, and he will do anything to… um… well, his motivation isn’t exactly clear. Kill her, rape her, look at her from stairwell windows – one of the three. Maybe all three. What’s important is we know he’s obsessed with Donna and he loves to stab people with an embarrassingly small knife.

Based incredibly loosely on the Jamie Lee Curtis-starring original of 1980, this unrecognizable remake feels like someone took the alcohol out of the punch bowl and replaced it with raw coffee. Mixed with shards of glass. Prom Night 2008 is woeful on a tremendous number of levels. The script, penned by J.S. Cardone, is so perfunctory it could’ve been copy and pasted from a thousand other sub-standard slasher flicks. This is no surprise, considering Cardone is responsible for such yawn-fests as The Stepfather and The Covenant.

The acting is by-the-numbers and vastly uninspiring, even from the normally fantastic Idris Elba, and the only real survivor is the hotel desk clerk (Hugh Clark), who actually gives a believable and sympathetic performance. The responsibility, however, for most of Prom Night’s cavalcade of failures, has to be director Nelson McCormack. Also responsible for The Stepfather remake, along with J.S. Cardone, this is a director / writer team-up that should be eradicated immediately. The characters are unsympathetic, the jumps are non-existent and the tension is totally absent. How Prom Night received a 15 certificate in the UK is also baffling as the violence is mostly off-screen or horribly repetitive. It is teeth-gratingly terrible.

If Prom Night teaches us anything it’s how mind-meltingly incompetent the Bridgeport police department is. They’re not just one step behind a killer with a clearly obvious plan, they’re also wildly idiotic and do everything the hard way (they kick down every single door in a massive hotel, instead of just borrowing some master keys). The police report afterwards would probably just be a long printout of P45s and a badly-spelt apology.

Zero points also go to our antagonist Richard Fenton (Jonathan Schaech), who is such a typical fictional serial killer it’s almost a parody. He walks incredibly slowly, must have teleportation skills, can hide in plain sight and can walk around looking like an absolute psychopath and no one seems to notice. Which is incredible since he’s just a mentally-deranged school teacher! He is a walking cliché who is utterly devoid of originality, and is vastly unthreatening.

Maybe in 2036 someone else will re-make this cursed film again. Well, they couldn’t do it any worse… although critics probably said that about the 1980 version. History has a horrible way of repeating itself.

Prom Nights have never been a safe event to attend according to Hollywood – Carrie, Dance of the Dead, Idle Hands – yet none have been so disastrous as Prom Night 2008. Epically terrible throughout, it bores, angers, frustrates and irritates. Prom Night is overwhelmingly awful. Never watch this.

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆

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