Prom Night – USA | Canada, 2008 – reviews

 
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‘A night to die for’

Prom Night is a 2008 American-Canadian slasher horror feature film about an escaped killer murdering attendees at the titular event.

Directed by Nelson McCormick (The Stepfather, 2009) from a screenplay written by co-executive producer J.S. Cardone (Wicked Little Things; The Scare Hole; Shadowzone; The Slayer; et al), very loosely based on the 1980 film of the same name. The movie stars Brittany Snow, Scott Porter, Jessica Stroup and Dana Davis.

Plot:

Three years ago, Donna (Brittany Snow) watched in horror as an obsessed predator (Johnathon Schaech) murdered her family.

Tonight is her senior prom and although she’s anxious about the past, she’s excited to celebrate her future with her friends.

What Donna doesn’t know is that the deranged psychopath has escaped from the asylum. He’s returned to hunt her down, intent on killing anyone who gets in his way.

As the night races towards its heart-pounding conclusion, the question becomes not who will be prom queen, but who will survive the killer’s rampage…

Reviews [click links to read more]:

“Not only is Prom Night an exercise in tedium, but it’s a creative wasteland as well. We know from the outset that Fenton is the killer, so we don’t even get a cheap murder-mystery. In the 80s, the least that a slasher film could offer was an interesting mask for the killer. But, since we already know who Fenton is, his disguise to elude the police is a black baseball cap. Wow, that is exciting.” DVD Sleuth

“The finale of the picture should be this grandiose showdown between good and evil, but not on McCormick’s watch. No, he likes to make even the simplest acts of behavior last about 900 years, constructing a conclusion that is absent even the slightest blip of tension and conflict.” DVD Talk

“It’s a basic slasher flick with no surprises, lazy jump scares & below par kills. The best thing about Prom Night is the acting, several of the cast do good jobs in their roles. Johnathon Schaech plays the killer Fenton with plenty of menace & the disconnect he appears to have to the killing adds decent levels of tension.” Games, Brrraaains & A Head-Banging Life

“The acting is neither noticeably terrible nor particularly good. Everyone, bar perhaps Schaech’s bug-eyed killer, just fades into the background. This isn’t going to hurt anyone’s CV, simply because you won’t be able to remember who any of the cast actually are. It’s slickly edited, and the setting looks reasonably pretty, but that’s about all that can be said for the flick.” Hysteria Lives!

“It’s entertaining, it’s well-made, the pace is good (we get a kill every 10 minutes, not too shabby), it has a cameo by Josh Leonard and the movie Can’t Hardly Wait, and there wasn’t a single point in the film where I was ready to throw something at the screen (except maybe the boyfriend scare. Come on!).” Horror Movie a Day

“J.S. Cardone fails to give us anything other than an entirely processed reading of the slasher film without a trace of irony, sarcasm or the generic self-awareness that either of these came with and the results disappear into the entirely humdrum. Cardone’s script fails to define the characters with any depth that goes beyond their perfectly made up good looks.” Moria

“Demonstrating little except the uselessness of a restraining order against a loony-tunes admirer, the movie offers less gore than the average Band-Aid commercial and fewer scares than the elimination episodes of Dancing With the Stars. But then, maybe I’m just not sophisticated enough.” The New York Times, April 12, 2008

“It’s a bore, even taking into account unintentional moments of humor that resulted in audience members jeering. This is a case study for Filmmaking Ineptitude 101. Director McCormack is so bad at his job that he can’t even execute an effective “boo!” moment – one of those things that even the worst horror movies seem to get right.” Reel Views

“The paper-thin mystery of the original Prom Night made for a fun diversion that’s entirely absent here. In fact, there are no twists anywhere in sight. The producers have gone for the most inoffensive garb they can get away with calling a horror flick, although it’s hardly that, with victims who, when stabbed a dozen or so times, bleed approximately enough to fill a shot glass and then cease.” Vegan Voorhees

“Granted the teens were all annoying, the music was horrible and the kills were rather tame, but I have to give credit where credit is due.  Even though the murders got a little repetitive (Schaech’s MO:  slash and run), Schaech did carve up someone about every eight minutes and managed to stack up an impressive body count before buying the farm.” The Video Vacuum

Cast and characters:

  • Brittany Snow … Donna Keppel
  • Scott Porter … Bobby
  • Jessica Stroup … Claire
  • Dana Davis … Lisa Hines
  • Collins Pennie … Ronnie Heflin (as Collins Curtis Pennié Robinson)
  • Kelly Blatz … Michael
  • James Ransone … Detective Nash
  • Brianne Davis … Crissy Lynn
  • Kellan Lutz … Rick Leland
  • Mary Mara … Ms Waters
  • Ming-Na Wen … Doctor Elisha Crowe (as Ming Wen)
  • Johnathon Schaech … Richard Fenton
  • Idris Elba … Detective Winn
  • Jessalyn Gilsig … Aunt Karen Turner
  • Linden Ashby … Uncle Jack Turner

Filming locations:

  • Los Angeles, California
  • Newport, Oregon

Production companies:

  • Screen Gems (presents)
  • Original Film
  • Newmarket Films
  • Alliance (in association with) (as Alliance Films)

Technical details:

  • 88 minutes | 89 minutes (unrated)
  • Technicolor
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35: 1
  • Audio: Dolby Digital | DTS | SDDS

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