Donna's (Brittany Snow) senior prom is supposed to be the best night of her life. After surviving the terrible tragedy in which her obsessed, psychopath teacher Richard Fenton (Johnathon Schaech) murdered her family, she has finally moved on and is enjoying her last year of high school. Now with her boyfriend Bobby (Scott Porter), her best friends (Jessica Stroup, Dana Davis) and their boyfriends (Collins Pennie, Kelly Blatz), she is ready to enjoy the night, safe from the horrors of the past. But when Detective Winn (Idris Elba) learns Fenton has escaped from the maximum security asylum in which he was held, the night quickly turns deadly. Donna, however, is unaware that the knife-wielding killer is at large and once again after her.
Review by Louise Keller:
Playing with the genre rather than offering serious gore, this revisiting of the 1980 thriller, (Prom Night, with Jamie Lee Curtis), intertwines the teen slasher genre with a splice of the police procedural. The result is a snappy teen movie that's short and as sharp as the blade bloodied by its distinctively featured psychopathic killer. There's nothing new, mind you, and the formula might have been drawn straight from a manual, but it's well done and it is our imaginations that are encouraged to create the horror.
Brittany Snow is nicely cast as the vulnerable Donna whose nightmares give us an early opportunity to understand the circumstances in which her parents and brother were murdered. There's fun and laughter as Donna and her two best friends prepare for their big night with glam frocks, hairdos, stretch limos, attentive boyfriends and high expectations. From the start, director Nelson McCormick injects jabs of uncertainty into the proceedings. Tension builds as we, the audience, know more than the characters. There's the clanging of the hangers in the closet, the creaking door, a disappearing face in the mirror, a figure in the doorway. There are screams, a splash of bright red blood and shadows in the darkness. Predictably, the first victim is someone we don't know. The next is someone we care little about. Then the killings step up a notch.
McCormick toys with the tone, flitting back and forth to the glitz and glam of the ultra modern LA Club-style prom for relief, after each killing. There's a contrast of obsessions - between Johnathon Schaech's darkly broody killer, Richard Fenton, and Idris Elba's Detective Winn. Fenton obsesses about Donna as something he must possess, while the detective is determined to stop Fenton at all costs. Schaech, with his angular features and disturbing stare is a convincing villain while excellent editing by Australian Jason Ballantine (Wolf Creek, Rogue) keeps the story moving as it neatly unsettles our equilibrium. Unashamedly catering for its target market, Prom Night delivers pretty much what you expect with enough scares to satisfy but not to keep you awake til the wee small hours.
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PROM NIGHT (M)
CAST: Brittany Snow, Scott Porter, Jessica Stroup, Dana Davis, Collins Pennie, Kelly Blatz, James Ransone, Brianne Davis, Kellan Lutz, Mary Mara, Ming-Na, Johnathon Schaech, Idris Elba
PRODUCER: Neal H. Moritz
DIRECTOR: Nelson McCormick
SCRIPT: J. S. Cardone
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Checco Varese
EDITOR: Jason Ballantine
MUSIC: Paul Haslinger
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Jon Gary Steele
RUNNING TIME: 88 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Sony
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: April 10, 2008