Wednesday, April 16, 2008

REVIEW: Prom Night (2008)

Nobody gives a damn about the original "Prom Night," other than it being one of the two non-"Halloween" slasher flicks Jamie Lee Curtis was in, cementing her status as "The Scream Queen." It was a formula "Friday the 13th" riff, nothing special about it. The new film (it shares NOTHING but the title, so it's not really a "remake") is more of the same, save that the style-set being lifted is from the Argento playbook (pretty victims, opulent location, no-nonsense knife-wielding stalker) this time around.

Depressingly, the setup - when regarded in the form of a plot-outline, at least - has the makings of a totally workable thriller: Three years ago, a High School teacher developed a psychotic crush on a young female student and wound up murdering her family - while she was hiding, paralyzed with fear. Cut to present, she's about to graduate and on her way to Prom, and he's broken out of jail and hunting her down. At the hotel where the bash is going down, he steals into the room rented by her and her companions and hunkers down to wait for them.

That's it. There's your setup for the movie: Bad man with a knife waiting somewhere the good guys are innevitably heading toward. Five-word plot synopsis: "Don't Go Into The Room!" What's more, it serves as a blunt but functional bit of teen-slasher symbolism: The Hotel Room exists for the purposes of sex, drugs and/or drinking - aka DEATH in slasher-movie lingo - and, naturally, thats exactly where death is LITERALLY waiting. The "good kids" just want to stay down at the dance (read: the innocence of youth) while the "bad kids" are eagerly anticipating heading up to The Room.

So... solid setup, working premise, tidy symbolism. Most horror films would be emboldened by having that much to work from... but "Prom Night" is content to stay on autopilot and deliver the most forgettable, uninteresting product possible. It's not scary, the acting is completely dull, and the PG-13 rating negates the only real purpose for such a time-waster to exist.

There is no reason to see this movie, period.