Thursday, April 17, 2008

Prom Night Review

This is probably one of the best 'produced' movies of the year. I don't mean best acted, filmed, directed, written or anything like that, just that it's the perfect money making project. Budgeted at less than $20 million (and opening to $21 million domestically) Prom Night is not only released at the perfect time of year (prom season) but has all the necessary ingredients of a (financially) successful horror film: good looking people, a slick, creative trailer, a box office friendly PG-13 rating and the use of the long dormant slasher genre. The film itself is a whole other matter, as it's really quite a mess. The direction is horrible and, generally, the film relies on jump cuts or shadows 'wooshing' across the screen for scares rather than actual horror. The writing is piss poor as well. I guess the biggest problem with this one is that, on the whole, it's just pretty damn boring. I give it credit for three reasons. First, the writers actually manage to come up with vaguely plausible reasons for people to be seperated from the prom area (and then, of course, slaughtered). Second, Scott Porter from Friday Night Lights really seems to try to make the best of some awful lines and is the only supporting character that musters any sort of emotional connection. Finally, Brittany Snow is actually quite a good actress and, like Porter, does a good job making the best of a shoddy script. With her wonderfully expressive eyes Snow manages to make her character, more or less, believably damaged by the events of her past (the film's slasher had killed her family years earlier and now is out to get her). I hope Snow uses the financial success of this one to get herself attached to some better projects because I think she has the talent to have a really nice career. By and large all the other supporting performances fall somewhere in the mediocre to terrible range. I found the film's PG-13 rating to be detrimental to the scariness: it makes all the horror less effective when the only effect of being brutally murdered with a knife is four one-dollar-bill-sized red splotches on a victim's shirt or a so-clean it isn't even noticed at first neck wound. The film's other major problem is the climax and ending. Snow has done such a good job creating a character that's believably been damaged by her prior experiences with this killer that what are we to believe happens afterwards? Is there any other potential outcome beyond her becoming a recluse, especially after the deaths of even more friends? It kind of deadens the whole thing that really the only potential outcomes of this are Snow's death or her character's complete emotional destruction. This could have been a decent slasher flick with better writing and direction...alas it's just another junky horror movie with a pair of decent performances.

Overall Score: 3/10

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