I know that everyone is getting tired of all these horror remakes, but I can’t see why everybody got all worked up over the fact that someone went ahead and remade Prom Night. It’s not a big deal people. Prom Night was never a sterling horror movie to begin with. In fact, the plot was so lame (a killer stalks a bunch of teens who covered up a murder years earlier) that when it came time to make Prom Night 2, they threw out the story and started from scratch. While Prom Night 3 was a legitimate sequel to Prom Night 2, it had no relation to the first movie, and Prom Night 4 had no connection to ANY of the previous movies. This remake has even less to do with those movies and if you just more or less consider this Prom Night 5, it goes down a lot smoother.
Basically the plot of this one has this hatchet faced chick being stalked by her gonzo teacher (Road House 2’s Jonathon Schaech). The opening scene actually manages to provide a jolt or two as the killer murders her entire family and kills her mother while she watches. The cops grab him before he can turn her into a teen-kabob and they send him off to the nuthouse. Three years later on prom night, he escapes from the loony bin and filets her friends with a fishing knife before setting his sights on her.
Say what you will about this diluted PG-13 horror remake, but it wasn’t THAT bad. Granted the teens were all annoying, the music was horrible and the kills were rather tame, but I have to give credit where credit is due. Even though the murders got a little repetitive (Schaech’s MO: slash and run), Schaech did carve up someone about every eight minutes and managed to stack up an impressive body count before buying the farm. Also, the flick moves at a pretty snappy pace, which is more than I can say for the original, which took almost an hour or so before someone finally got knifed.
Another plus: NO DISCO MUSIC.
Of course that’s about where the good stuff ends. Despite a strong start, the movie kinda falls apart at about the ¾ mark when the action shifts away from the prom and focuses on the suburbs. The PG-13 rating doesn’t help matters and the blood is kept to a minimum. (I’ve had bowel movements with more blood than this movie.) The lead actress was pretty… awful and I kept being distracted by the huge scar on her forehead. It was weird; her scar had more personality than the rest of her face did.
In fact, I found myself actually rooting for Schaech to turn the irritating kids into cutlets about halfway through the movie. Schaech was in full on Vincent Gallo mode the whole movie and exuded an odd freakiness that was way more interesting than anybody else in the movie. Besides, let’s face it. That little hatchet faced broad cockteased him into lunacy and the only way to make her pay was to butcher her family and friends. We’ve all been there before. We can sympathize with the man.
And while we’re talking nutcases, let’s take a moment to honor the killer’s disguise. I think it will go down as one of the more memorable disguises in horror history. In the Friday the 13th series, Jason had his hockey mask. In Urban Legend, Noxema Girl sported the Eskimo coat. In The Toolbox Murders, the immortal Cameron Mitchell wore a scary ski mask. In Prom Night, Schaech wears… are you ready for this? A BASEBALL CAP!
Sure, you’re gonna say, boy Mitch, you really lost it on this one, you’re actually PRAISING the fact that the movie’s killer donned a cut rate, non-descript noggin topper that looks more Jason Giambi than Jason Vorhees, but let me defend myself here for a second. The cap works because whenever Schaech wants to remain anonymous in a crowd, all he’s gotta do is PULL THE BRIM DOWN. When Schaech wants to show how angry he is, all he has to do is LIFT THE BRIM UP so you can see his crazy ass eyes. And when Schaech wants to camouflage himself in the darkness like Predator, all he’s got to do is PUT HIS HEAD DOWN in a dark room to make himself invisible.
As you can see, it’s an all purpose disguise.
Look, this flick ain’t gonna cure world hunger, make the planet environmentally friendly or teach inner city kids how to play the violin. It’s a damn Prom Night movie. You pays your moneys, you get what you pays for. It’s no Prom Night 4: Deliver Us from Evil, but it gets the job done for the most part, and if you can put yourself in the killer’s shoes, it’s really not so bad at all.
Mortal Kombat fans will be pleased to know that none other than Johnny Cage plays the hatchet faced chick’s legal guardian.