Review by Jack Foley
NELSON McCormack’s remake of 1980 slasher flick Prom Night begins with a cover version of The Zombies’ 1967 classic Time Of The Season as sung by Ben Taylor. Straight away, audiences should get that sinking feeling.
Envisaged as a re-imagining for a more sophisticated audience, the film deliberately – and thankfully – tones down the gore but struggles to escape the “why bother?” question that bedevils so many reinterpretations.
What’s left is a tedious retread of countless other horror films that behaves as if the intelligent Scream franchise never existed.
Donna Keppel (Brittany Snow) is a beautiful teenager still coming to terms with the murder of her family by her infatuated teacher Richard Fenton (Johnathon Schaech) three years earlier.
As she celebrates her prom night with friends, however, it emerges that Richard has escaped and it’s left to local detective Winn (Idrissa Elba) to try and prevent the inevitable bloodbath.
Director McCormack may be making his feature film debut with Prom Night but he’s a veteran of some quality TV shows, ranging from ER and CSI to House, Prison Break and The West Wing. Hence, audiences had every reason to expect a somewhat more intelligent spin on the slasher genre.
To be fair, there are glimpses, such as his decision to credit Elba’s sympathetic detective with more intelligence than usual, or the way in which he shows the emotional fallout of one of the victim’s deaths on her boyfriend.
For the majority of the time, though, McCormack fails to make any of his younger characters worth caring about, opting instead for as many jump-scares as possible. By the time they then start to act hysterically and illogically, audiences will have lost interest.
Running time: 88mins
UK DVD Release: October 13, 2008