As a somewhat fair-weathered fan of the horror genre, I’ll be the first to admit that I haven’t seen the first “Prom Night” with Jamie Lee Curtis and Leslie Nielsen. It’s one of those camp classics that, like “Halloween” and “Friday the 13th”, really defined the teen horror genre that “Scream” so successfully lampooned a decade ago. This new installment of “Prom Night” also follows my follows my theory that Hollywood mainly puts out three kinds of movies: remakes (check), adaptations of television shows from the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s and movies based on comic books/graphic novels. “Prom Night” fits nicely into my little formula, don’t you think? Admittedly having never seen the original I wasn’t sure how accurately this remake followed the 1980’s version but I have to assume that the Jamie Lee Curtis version had to be better than this. And I’ll tell you why.
We meet Donna (Brittany Snow) as she’s come home to discover her father and brother brutally murdered. She hides from the killer only to watch her mother stabbed to death and then we flash forward three years. Donna’s now a Senior in high school and the killer, Donna’s teacher Mr. Fenton (Jonathan Schaech) has been sentenced to a maximum security prison across the country. Donna is still seeing a counselor and her boyfriend Bobby (Scott Porter) is taking her to her Senior Prom (hence the title of the movie). Word leaks out that Fenton has escaped and nosy detective Nash (James Ransone) is just a little too accurate in his assessments. As we might expect, while the prom rages on in the hotel ballroom, Fenton is stalking about looking for his obsession. Will he find her and if so, whatever will happen?
“Prom Night” actually angered me as its 90 minutes of my life that I’ll never get back. Not once in the course of the film was I the least bit scared. The plot was painstakingly predictable and the acting was sub par at best. Add to that the villain looks more like the type of person you’d see in an adult video store, much less a crazed and obsessed killer (who does all of his killing with a buck knife, to boot). The violence wasn’t even that great and I was at least hoping for some sort of gratuitous sex but alas, there was none. About the only thing this movie had going for it was its theatrical release date, coincidentally enough around prom time which shows that at least someone was thinking about the film. Too bad it wasn’t the filmmakers.
Video: How does it look?
On a technical level “Prom Night” isn’t nearly as bad as what’s happening on screen. The 2.40:1 AVC HD transfer looks pretty darn good with great contrast and some beautiful bright, vivid colors. Most of the movie is dark (hence the title “Prom Night“) and I noticed just the slightest bit of grain in a few of the scenes. Black levels appear to be right on the mark as well. This comes as no real surprise as the movie is new to Blu-ray and I’d have expected no less.
Audio: How does it sound?
On the other hand, the Dolby TrueHD soundtrack does leave a bit to be desired. Usually, during most horror movies, we get a few instances of a loud, sudden sound that make us jump in our seats. Those scenes are present in this movie (actually a few too many times, making them clichd and ineffective), though they just didn’t seem to sound that great. Dialogue sounds very natural and perhaps it was the movie itself but I just wasn’t too impressed by the audio mix here.
Supplements: What are the extras?
For the handful of fans that this movie has, there’s an audio commentary which I’ll be the first to admit I didn’t listen to. I’m sure the filmmakers say some truly great things or maybe they’re just apologizing for 90 minutes. I’ll never know. But for those interested, it’s there. There are also some deleted scenes, an alternate ending and a gag reel. The disc is also BD Live enabled, like many of Sony’s other titles, but contains nothing particular to this movie from that link.