Prom Night

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Starring Brittany Snow and Johnathon Schaech. Rated 14A.

Prom Night is an in-name-only remake of the Canadian slasher flick from 1980, in which Jamie Lee Curtis built on the scream-queen title she’d begun to establish two years earlier in Halloween. The original Prom Night was best forgotten for its re-creation of a dance scene from Saturday Night Fever in which Curtis and some disco dude go all Travolta to the hideous strains of the movie’s theme song. Scary stuff, indeed.

The new version is clearly trying to cash in on whatever name recognition the original still holds, because—apart from being about a maniac stalking high-school grads—the similarities are few. In the first film, the murders were payback for the bullying that led to a child’s accidental death, while the remake offers zero motivation for the carnage. A hunky teacher (Johnathon Schaech) has a murderous obsession with a potential prom queen (Brittany Show), but we never find out why. For all we know, he could be infatuated with the tiny scar on her forehead.

Most of the so-called action takes place in the confines of a luxurious hotel, so there’s no preying on people’s innate fears of shadowy high-school corridors and fetid locker rooms. And the identity of the villain is revealed at the start, so the mystery quotient is nil. At least there’s some gruesome deaths to satisfy die-hard fans of the slasher genre though, right?

Wrongo, bucko. For ratings’ sake, first-time director Nelson McCormick eliminates most of the gore. The killer dispatches victims with three quick stabs, and they’re left lying around in hotel suites with dabs of red colouring their clothes. Forget the pools of blood created by stabbings in real life; that mess might tip off the stereotypically inept cops hunting the bad guy.

Thankfully, Prom Night’s predictable ending doesn’t suggest a remake of the original’s 1987 sequel, Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night 2. No kidding, that’s what it was called.

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