Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Prom Night - DVD Review

PROM NIGHT (*1/2) - Starring Brittany Snow, Jonathan Schaech, Scott Porter, Dana Davis, Idris Elba, Jessica Stroup, Mary Mara and Ming Wen.
Written by J.S. Cardone.
Directed by Nelson McCormick.

This is a slasher film written by and for 12-year-olds. Oh, says here that the writer's older than 12, as is the director. Hm. Well, then, that blows that theory. I would say it's for youngsters who've never seen a slasher movie before; maybe it will scare them. Then again the first slasher movie I ever saw was Friday the 13th Part IV when I was 11 or 12, and I found it fascinatingly unscary. So who is this for? 9-year-olds? Do we really want the 9-year-olds of the world watching slasher movies? Of course, to keep it in PG-13 bounds, there's not much blood, and the kids get killed before they can pair off to have sex, so the exploitation factor's gone... Man, what is the point to this movie?

I guess it's to give decent TV actors supporting roles. There's ER vet Ming Wen as a psychiatrist. There's The Wire vet Idris Elba as the incompetant police officer hunting down the killer. (Only when the movie hits the 70-minute mark does he suddenly become good at his job.) No, that would be a benevolent reason. It's about marketing. They knew they could put together a good trailer and get a decent opening weekend, and horror films tend to live longer than any other genre on DVD and cable. I don't know how much care was put into making it an actual good movie.

Brittany Snow, the snob from Hairspray, is our heroine, and she's good at jumping and screaming at something suddenly startling her from behind, be it obtuse friends just tapping her shoulder, or a lampshade she backed into. Yes, one of our jump-scares is committed by a lampshade.

Some of these kids are terrible at running from the killer, in traditional Friday the 13th fashion. Tripping over tiny objects, running while looking backward so the killer can suddenly be in front of them.

Our killer is not a masked man. It's Jonathan Schaech. We see his face plenty during the beginning, middle and end. He's a former teacher who became obsessed with a student and wound up killing her family to get her for himself. He escaped his mental institution and he's hunted down our heroine to her prom night. Why does he start killing her friends? I don't know. Because he doesn't want her to have friends?

I never saw the original, and I really don't think that would affect what I thought about this.

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