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Prom Night

June 17, 2008

Prom Night is a remake of, well, Prom Night, a post-Halloween and pre-Halloween 2 Jamie Lee Curtis shocker featuring sundry deaths at the hands of an axe-wielding maniac. During a school prom. You’ve probably seen it; not in reality, but just then, in your mind’s eye. How difficult can it be to imagine?

In the flesh, as you’d expect, it’s a pretty poor film and I was more than a little surprised that it was slated to get the remake treatment. But then, everything is managing the, ahem, ‘re-imagining’ treatment these days.

On the plus side it’s certainly quite polished, and competently filmed. There are no boom shots in frame, for one thing, so it scores over The Happening for that, at least; the actors presumably have remembered all their lines in the right order; and no-one bumps into the scenery unless scripted to. Beyond that it’s really quite difficult to work out why they bothered.

Admittedly, it allows us to view a taste of Brittany Snow’s considerable talent (although that remains sadly corseted at all times):

Snow is the teen scream queen who’s being pursued by the local nut job, who managed to hold it together, despite his obvious psychological disadvantages, long enough to escape from the local high security mental facility. He then eludes police surveillance for three days and cleverly infiltrates the swanky hotel where Brittany and her pals are having their, yes, their prom night. Said loony has been obsessed with the young lass for years (he used to be her science teacher) and really that’s more than enough plot from me. Actually, wait up, that is the plot.

Despite being stonkingly chicken oriental, our killer is remarkably neat and tidy, for the murders are the most bloodless, sanitised offings you could hope for. A bit like that controversial Tracey Beaker episode where Roxy slices up Duke and Elaine the Pain with the artroom spatula; some foot-wobbling muscle spasm, but no claret. You know the thing. Very pre-watershed. This is almost 12 certificate material, to be fair, and other than one extremely mild reference to a bout of teenage jiggy-jiggy, there is nothing here that wouldn’t stop it from becoming the National Viewers’ and Listeners’ Association’s favourite teenagers in peril cautionary tale.

An ironic buddy act between The Wire‘s Stringer Bell and Ziggy Sobotka as two frantic and not really very good cops is the only distraction of note, and just about kept me interested until the predictable finale.

But there is a serious side to all this. Prom Night performed fairly solidly at the US box office and for a couple of weeks pissed all over opposition like Keanu Reeves’s Street Kings and the Jodie Foster vehicle Nim’s Island. While good returns continue, who knows when the remake treadmill will falter. Clearly it has some way to go before it fizzles out. In fact, after Rob Zombie’s pointless Halloween remake last year we’ve still got new versions of Friday the 13th, A Nightmare on Elm Street, The Last House on the Left, The Birds, Near Dark and Hellraiser to look forward to. Well, I say ‘look forward’.

But is it what we want? Is it what we deserve?

, for Snow’s aesthetic appeal and the Wire alumni

One Comment leave one →
  1. June 17, 2008 7:58 pm

    God, I thought she was on of the olsens… I hate when they are their coz they’re not that cute twins anymore…. they’re more like just twins nowadays.

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