There have been a lot of people (including me) bemoaning the fact that Hollywood is remaking all the classic horror flicks. But as my fellow Reject Robert Fure pointed out not too long ago, movies like Prom Night can hardly be considered an untouchable classic.
Because the new film was not screened for critics, I prepped for the movie by renting the 1980 original starring Jamie Lee Curtis. This was a film that exploited her legendary experience in the original Halloween, and it gave us an achingly similar plot.
The first Prom Night was a cheap rip-off of Halloween, building upon the wild success of Friday the 13th which was released only a few months before. The film was an assorted tray of cheese, mixing slashers with disco and having a flavor that is now more reminiscent of Sleepaway Camp than John Carpenter’s original slasher film.
The new movie is not so much as a remake than a blatant theft of title. Similar to how House of Wax took the name only and crafted a completely different story, this film abandons the original plot of the film. The 1980 movie featured a murderer seeking revenge on students six years after they accidentally killed their schoolmate.
In this movie, Brittany Snow plays a senior in high school who is still trying to deal with the horrors in her past. Three years before, an obsessed teacher slaughtered her family in order to claim her as his own. He was eventually caught and put in a mental institution. However, on the night of her senior prom, the psycho teacher escapes and tracks her down at the dance, cutting down any student (or maid or hotel clerk) who gets in his way.
Even though this is a completely different plot than the original film, the story really isn’t all that original. We’ve seen a lot of this before in horror movies from Carrie to Black Christmas. In this respect, I think the writers could have used a little more creativity. After all, how original is an escaped mental patient in a horror movie?
With that said, Prom Night is infinitely better than the original (partly because it doesn’t feature a ten minute disco segment in the middle). It’s better paced and executed as a horror movie should. Sure, it loads up with cliches and has more fake jump moments than actual scares, but considering the target market is horny teenage boys trying to get a rise out of their dates, this is understandable.
There’s nothing particularly scary about Prom Night, and as far as horror movies go, it is somewhat pedantic. But for being such a raging cliche, I was surprised at the fact that I really didn’t get that bored with it. And that says something for the desolate landscape of American horror movies recently.
THE UPSIDE: Lots of hot girls busting out of their prom dresses, played by women in their early 20s, so you won’t feel like such a perv.
THE DOWNSIDE: It would have actually have worked better as an R-rated movie.
ON THE SIDE: Since when did high school kids openly rent rooms in the same hotel as their prom? That never happened when I was in school. I feel like I missed out!