I don’t like to overuse the 1/10 score. If you ask me, giving absolutely everything that maybe isn’t the greatest thing ever the lowest possible score available can only delegitimise its believability. It’s almost like a negative review from Vincent Canby or Armond White, if they hated it then it’s probably alright. Or a child coming home from school declaring the day they just had to be the worst of their lives; you want to say to them: “oh, business as usual then?” If you’re only a child, I wouldn’t use up that card just yet, there’s still plenty of time…
But Jesus H. Crackerjack! If films like Prom Night don’t make me question everything I just said then I’m one of the lizard-people secretly controlling the cricket results! Is Prom Night bad enough to get 1/10? No, I suppose not, it doesn’t have the hair pulling/face ripping – let’s all just enact a year long Purge because humanity is beyond saving – kind of moral degeneracy to qualify. But is it still utter utter rubbish that could just as easily have scored a 1/10 if I really – I mean REALLY – felt like it?… (*calm voice*) yeah, probably.
Prom Night, released in 2008, is a loose remake of a 1980 slasher film about a bunch of idiot high school kids going to prom with a deranged killer picking them off one by one. In the original, the kids in question were held responsible, by the killer, for the death of a child some years prior. In the remake, the killer is an insane teacher who became obsessed with one of his students, murdered her family, was sent to the looney bin and escaped just in time to crash her prom and kill all her friends. When I say “loose” remake, try to think of the word “loose” in relation to a hangman’s noose knot that hasn’t been tied properly. So instead of your neck breaking you just dangle there, your face turning blue, your tongue swelling up, your eyes popping out and all you can focus on is the pain…
… And maybe also the question as to why your genitals have suddenly activated. What’s that? You’re wondering why I’ve asked you to think of such a site in as vivid detail as I have described? Well it wasn’t for any reason, I just wanted to put something ghastly in your head because I don’t want to be the only one suffering. Now stop asking me silly questions and read the rest of the review… I can’t get off if you don’t.
If I’m being honest, I think the film really does deserve that extra star because there are moments peppered throughout that suggest the filmmakers were sincerely trying; at least during principle photography anyway. You can tell if a crew gave a shit by how a film behaves visually, if it looks like they’re actually thinking to use certain tricks and techniques to drive it home; instead of only going so far as to point the camera in the right direction. There are a couple of interesting shots here and there, some cool camera placements, good use of under-cranking and so on; it’s technically competent enough.
Oh yes, and Idris Elba is in the movie (for some reason), as the lead detective hunting down the escaped madman and he did provide a highlight; I was on his side and wanted him to succeed – which is more than I can say for the dumbass kids! The problem with the film is that it’s so generic, so underwhelming and blandest-of-bland bread, that it’s funny; that’s something else I can say that’s positive. Its story is so boringly presented and ordinarily executed, that when “things” happen they come across as funny; it’s all just so dry and blasé.
Like when a body falls out of a cupboard it’s supposed to be shocking, but in the end I could only horse-laugh because of how aggressively “blah” it all came across. It’s not scary, it’s not tense (because every scene that builds to a murder plays out exactly as you imagine), and the ending is officially the lamest thing I’ve ever seen since that time I saw a man without arms or legs try to navigate playground monkey bars! It’s nothing but a strict by-the-numbers affair from start to finish because Mr creativity is still pissed from the night before and has not shown up for work!
The deaths are particularly weak – which is not something you want to say about a slasher movie, the killer looks ridiculous (with his out of place cap that’s meant to hide his face but just makes him look like the most conspicuous man in the building), the characters are barely even empty shells, the Disney-channel prom motif bullies the horror angel out of the second act and the dialogue is a load of PG-13 piss-taking! Would the actors have delivered better performances if the script allowed it? Maybe, I guess they look like they’re trying. Would the director, too, have turned in a better film if the script wasn’t such a self-disinterested list of only the most boring slasher cliches and none of the fun ones? Again, it’s possible.
There is clear and present decision making onscreen, they wanted the film to do more than simply “be”. But such things are totally sullied by cancerous mistakes that derail the whole ride and kill everyone on board. Why are the deaths so boring? To keep it PG-13 of course, we need teens to be allowed admittance because money is apparently the only thing that matters. And I know I mentioned the script earlier but I want to emphasise, because shit-yourself-at-church is this one of the most throw away, don’t know-don’t care, get it over with and pay me scripts I have ever seen!
I hate – hate – HATE scripts like this. Scripts with every opportunity to zap the imagination to life and actually have fun with your mandatory checklist, only to piss every single one of them right up the wall and call it a day. If you’re making a slasher, you’re not being bogged down with restraints, the opportunities are limitless, slashers can be bloody whirlwinds of sadistic fun and guts. But no, and rarely are they ever. The killer in prom night is just some guy, you don’t care about his victims or feel riveted when he dispatches them, and the heroes beat him by… shooting him a couple times… and he falls over dead… and then the credits highjack whatever’s left with an abrupt ending that would piss you off even if you were praying for the sordid affair to be done with already!
Prom Night 2008 is a load of nothing. It’s just kind of there, it exists, it occurs in front of you like deja vu of an imaginary car crash; mysterious as to whether you really saw it or not. Sure the acting wasn’t strictly the greatest but I want to give the actors credit for looking like they gave more than a fuck, and even regarding the performances that didn’t work – they’re like the 30th thing wrong with the film so they’re let off with a warning. And I cannot stress enough just how terribly abrupt the ending was, would like to know exactly how abrupt?