Monday, March 9, 2009

Prom Night (2008)

I’ve been a little behind on posting – family issues. I’m sure not having daily posts from me has ruined your life.

I watched the 2008 remake of Prom Night the night after the original, and all I can say is – OMG they totally destroyed my childhood by desecrating the memory of a great film! Ugh, no, that won’t fly. The only thing the two movies have in common is the title, and the fact that teenagers die at the prom in each, so if you think the original Prom Night is the bestest movie ever, don’t get so worked up. Oh, and one other common attribute: they both pretty much suck.

Donna Kreppel (Brittany Snow) is an unlucky kid. Her science teacher Richard Fenton (Johnathon Schaech, The Forsaken) likes her a little too well, and to prove his love, he breaks into her house and knifes her mother, father, and brother to death. That’s one way of getting attention. Fenton is caught, and is committed to a mental institution, since he is obviously nuts (this never goes well), while Donna goes to live with her aunt and uncle, continuing to be bummed out by the whole family massacre thing. She perseveres, and eventually reaches the absolute peak of her life: The Prom.

Maybe it’s a generational thing, but the prom just wasn’t the be-all and end-all when I was in school. The kids in this movie spend more on the prom than I spent on my car.

Anyway, Donna has plans for the big night with her boyfriend Bobby (Scott Porter, who plays Street on Friday Night Lights. He can walk here, leading me to believe he’s faking it on FNL.) and some friends. The party is to be held at a downtown hotel, and the bad disco music of the first flick has been replaced with bad hip-hop, although there are thankfully fewer dance sequences.

On the day of the festivities, Fenton escapes from the asylum (we should have seen that coming), much to the consternation of Detective Winn (Idris Elba, from Ultraviolet and The Wire). Despite the cops being on the lookout, he manages to make his way into the party hotel (he wears a baseball cap to disguise himself) and spends the rest of the movie picking off party-goers and policemen in a series of fairly by-the-numbers stabbings.

I believe Johnathon Schaech (whose first name sets off my spellchecker but not his less common last name) is a good actor, but physically, he’s not quite right for the part. Schaech is of average size and build, yet he pretty easily overpowers and kills a number of fit teenagers and trained policemen. Idris Elba is criminally underused. One of the better actors working today, he mostly gets to dash around being useless.

The plot of the movie is just as simple as it possibly could be. Slasher attacks, kills the cast one by one, until the Final Girl gets him. There isn’t even any possible doubt as to who the Final Girl will be. Maybe the movie is slightly better than the 1980 version, due to less ridiculous hairstyles and less disco, but that is damning with truly faint praise.

Oh, and this was another oone of those attempts to make a slasher film fit into a PG-13 format, which means even in the "Unrated" version there's little sex and the violence is quite muted. Since violence is the raison d'etre of this type of movie, that makes it seem neutered.

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