The very first thing you need to know is that this film has absolutely nothing in common with the 1980 cult classic except for the name. Everyone involved has admitted the fact, so, if you’re looking for an update on an old memory, you really are in for a disappointment. The truth is, even if you aren’t expecting the old story you’re in for a huge letdown. Everything about this film screams mundane, from the killer to the story to the acting. The problem is that the film has no niche. It’s definitely not a slasher or splatter film. You won’t find enough blood to give a fruit fly a transfusion. It’s not a horror film per se. The killer isn’t a supernatural being of any kind. He’s just your run of the mill escaped stalker. The film isn’t very suspenseful, and there isn’t any real mystery here. So, what in the heck is this movie? A mess, that’s what it is.
The story is too simple. A group of high school kids are going to their prom. The prom’s held in an historic hotel and the kids have gotten themselves a suite in the same building. Before you start licking your chops that you are at least going to get some hot teeny bopper sex, forget it. No one actually gets to use the room for its intended purpose. A man who apparently previously stalked one of the girls has escaped and is now heading to the prom to pick up where he left off. The cops are on to him, so they’re staking out the hotel as well. Some folks get killed in unimaginatively mundane ways, and the cat and mouse game is on. Only the cops are complete idiots, so our killer manages to blunder his way successfully far longer than he might have even if Barney Fife were on the case.
The acting is simply atrocious. The girls are all interchangeable scream queens with no talent beyond the obvious. The problem is they don’t even have a ton of talent even there, if you know what I mean. I expected more out of young Scott Porter, who plays the paralyzed quarterback, Jason Street on Friday Night Lights. The main detective is played by Idris Elba, who is usually a lot better than he is here. Most of you will remember him as the educated drug dealer, Stringer Bell, on The Wire. Unlike on that superior show,
Prom Night is presented in its original aspect ratio of 2.35:1. The whole thing looks like it was recorded on digital video. That would be fine, but it looks like consumer grade equipment, not professional. There’s not really anything wrong with the picture. It’s clean and color is pretty good. The girls’ prom dresses look shiny and bright, and they certainly pop on the screen. The problem is that black levels are particularly weak here, and that means not much detail in the dark scenes. In the climax we can’t even really see what’s going on. Maybe that was the idea.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 track is pretty tame. The entire film really takes place in front of you. A little of the eclectic prom music stretches the mix a little, but never enough to truly engage you in the mediocre action. You’ll hear the dialog just fine, and maybe that’s all that matters here.
Deleted Scenes: There are 5 scenes for a total of 5 minutes. You have a play all option and the ability to play with cast and crew commentary.
Alternative Ending: You’ve got to be kidding! This is about a minute long, and the only change is a voice over sentence that really left me scratching my head.
Gag Reel: This feature is basically 2 minutes of a lot of klutzy moves.
A Night To Remember – The Making Of Prom Night: This 13 minute feature mostly deals with the cast and crew talking about the night shoots and how little sleep they got. If you agree with me that this film blows, you should watch this and hear about the even worse ideas they originally had.
Profile Of A Killer: For 6 minutes the cast and crew talk about the killer in the film. There are some ludicrous comparisons to classic characters.
Gothic Spaces – Creating The Pacific Grand Hotel: The old Park Plaza Hotel was the setting for the film’s fictional location. There’s a lot of oooh and ahhs.
Prom Night Photo Album: The cast talk about their own real prom night stories.
This film is a complete waste of your time. It’s even worse than the countless sequels of the 1980 film, and that’s saying something. With the trend that just about every horror film from the 70’s and 80’s simply must be remade, I was at least expecting something akin to the original, if marginal film. Then I watch the features and hear everybody gloat that this film has nothing in common with the other film outside of the title. “You couldn’t have told me earlier?”