Prom Night


Directed by: Nelson McCormick
Written by:J.S. Cardone
Starring: Brittany Snow, Scott Porter, Jessica Stroup,  Dana Davis, James Ransone, Jonathan Schaech
Released: April 10, 2008
Grade: C

Seeing the trailers for Prom Night reminded me of Wes Craven’s Scream trilogy.  The first Scream film was released back in 1996 and starred David Arquette, Neve Campbell and Courteney Cox.  It was the story of an unidentified psychopath who was killing school students in a small, California town.  The Scream movies deserve to be included in any list of great horror films.  They’re terrific.

It’s been 8 years since the final film was released and many of today’s teenagers would be unaware that the trilogy even exists.  Writer J.S. Cardone (The Covenant) has felt that it’s time for audiences to be treated to another teen horror movie.  Prom Night will feel new for some viewers.  I’m sure plenty of young moviegoers will pack movie theatres to see it.  As for me, I’ve seen this all before and it offers nothing new whatsoever. 

For Donna Keppel (Snow), tonight should be one of the best nights of her life.  It’s her high school formal and the night has been carefully planed.  She’s being accompanied by her picture-perfect boyfriend (Porter), she’s arriving with her friends in a huge stretch limousine and she’s spending the night in a luxurious hotel suite.  All’s good for Donna.

Well actually, it’s not.  A year ago, there was a school teacher named Richard Fenton (Schaech) who became obsessed with Donna.  When he realised that she wouldn’t return his affections, he came to her house and murdered her family.  He was found to be insane at the court trial and was placed in a mental institution.  Donna now lives with her aunt and uncle.

Can you guess what will happen next?  That’s right, Fenton escapes from the nut house and goes looking of Donna.  His desire to be with her hasn’t diminished.  He turns up the hotel, checks into a room on the same floor and waits for her to arrive.  He’s prepared to kill anyone who gets in his way.  The police are doing their best to help but from what I saw, they couldn’t catch a cold let alone a psychopathic killer.

I see that Prom Night topped the box-office in the U.S. last weekend and took in $22.7m.  Considering that the film cost roughly $18m to make, you’ll have to agree that it is a success.  People have been enticed by the trailers and advertisements.  They’ve put their money on the counter and asked for a ticket.  Well done to the film’s investors.

If I had my way however, I’d see this film sent straight to video.  It’s awful.  The plot is terrible and it uses tired, familiar formulas.  The killer always seems to be able to find a way to sneak around and pop up at just the right moment to kill someone.  It’s as if he’s both psychic and psychopathic.  There’s a cool party trick.  The guy looks suspicious from the moment he walks into the hotel and I can’t explain why the staff don’t think the same way.

I couldn’t sleep after seeing Prom Night.  That’s not because I was scared by the movie but because I was scared by the thought that they may make a sequel.  Please god, noooooooooooo!