Friday, July 24, 2009

Just Bad Cinema: Prom Night 2008

You know when it is a bad indication that a slasher movie won't be up to par?

When there are just too many teens in the theatre.

Welcome to Prom Night, where Sylar cuts through a bunch of empty school stereotypes to go after Claire once again. Or not. Seriously, when the killer shows up at the hotel that hosts said prom, he is disguised in basically a regular set of clothes...and a baseball cap. It reminds me of Sylar in Season 1 of Heroes, when he was hunting Charlie or going after the "tracking system". And the main character, Donna, is a blond...

Anyway, i already had low expectations going into this movie. I'm not a fan of Hollywood's latest trend of remaking slasher movies from JUST 20 years ago. Sure, Rob Zombie's Halloween turned out to be fun, with a Batman Begins-type look at 'ol Micheal Myers. The 2006 Hills Have Eyes was definately an improvement over the 1977 one(except for Dee Wallace...she was quite a looker in the original). Black Christmas seemed to have the original, and i daresay is an improvement as well(but i love Olivia Hussy!).

Then, there are the When A Stranger Calls. And now...Prom Night, which claims to be a remake, but doesn't follow the plotline of the original. Not that the original 1981 slasher, which starred Jamie Lee Curtis, was better. In my honest was a bore, which seemed to exist only to give the Halloween scream queen another vehicle to exploit her newfound fame. Sure, i understand the need for tension build-up in the story...but the whole thing moved too slow and unimaginative for my tastes. Let's just say that i enjoy the brutal fun of Hatchet much more.

Anyway, on with the show. The basic story is that a chemistry teacher gets too obsessed with one of his freshmen students in her freshmen year, our main character named Donna(your typical blond lead). Donna returns home one night to see her family slaughtered(unimaginatively...a slash across the throat? Boring) and her mother killed before her eyes as she hides under the bed. All of this is revealed in flashback as we learn that Donna is in her senior year in high school now, preparing for her prom.

And the eye-rolling began for me. I'm sorry, i just didn't care about dresses, hairstyling, and limo rides. I was ready for war, for slashing, for killing. When the detective character learns that the crazy teacher has escaped from the insane asylum three days earlier(conviently), i was ready for the fun. Sure, there's the usual "fudging" of the why three days, in the Information Age? But then again, slasher movies are not known for their logic:), and we slasher fans don't watch them for their logic.

Anyway, the teacher(dressed like Season 1 Sylar) shows up at the hotel where the prom is being held and gets a room using an stolen alias on the same floor as a couple of suites that the main characters have rented. Our main characters consist of your basic "slasher cast"...blond lead Donna, her caring boyfriend, her brown-haired friend Claire(!) and her boyfriend, and our token minority Lisa and her boyfriend. There are some Sweet Valley High-esque subplots, like Lisa hating the lead candidate for Prom Queen, or Claire losing her boyfriend...but i didn't care. Eyerolling here.

When Syl-i mean Fenton, the teacher, kills his first was so bloodless, quick, and unimaginative, that i supressed a yawn. What? That's it? Fenton dispatches other victims this way as well, and i'm like...where's the goods?! Stab and that's it? Rob Zombie had Micheal Myers CHOKESLAMMING a man DOWN a hallway BEFORE killing him. Hatchetface, in Hatchet, sands a woman's mouth off with a sander before bodyslamming her onto the handle of a shovel. And Fenton...stabs a victim? If this was the only movie of its kind, sure it would work. But in a genre that focuses on creative death, it's the equivalent of doing a superhero comic about a man with superhuman flight. Pointless without more to go on.

Prom Night, in general, is so cliche and by-the-numbers that it could probably work as someone's "My-First-Slasher". I've never seen a movie with so many fake scares, and real scares that was predictable. Even what the killer did at the end in the closet scene i predicted...and i'm not joking. Instead of being scared, i found myself either laughing or wanted to actually walk out of the theatre...but my $9.00 ticket price tag would not let me. It's in the same category as Lake unimaginative as a genre offering that you want to walk to Hollywood and punch out the people who green-lit it.

I think the most humorous reactions i witnessed was from the audience...teens and tweeners, and i guess a few couples who don't watch "scary movies" on a regular basis. They jumped at EVERY fake scare and REAL one.


Link to the Trailer:

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