Three years ago, Donna watched from hiding as an obsessed stalker murdered her family. But that’s all in the past now – the killer is safely locked in an asylum, and Donna has started to move on with her life. She has a new home, a new boyfriend, and the nightmares have mostly stopped.
Now it’s her senior prom, and Donna isn’t going to let any thoughts of the past ruin what should be a wonderful night. But, as you might have already guessed, something terrible has happened; her stalker has escaped from the asylum and is on his way to finally claim her. Also, he’s going to kill a bunch of people. I’m not going to pretend that Prom Night is anything other than a formulaic teen slasher film. That would be both pointless and difficult, as that’s exactly what Prom Night is. It’s about a bunch of teenagers being murdered by a crazed killer while the police desperately try to stop him. However, despite following a formula, there are several things that make Prom Night worth watching.
The most immediately noticeable one is the cast. Normally, in this kind of horror film, you don’t expect to recognise anyone; it’s the preserve of interchangeable blondes and people desperate for their first big break. Prom Night is filled with well-known faces. Brittany Snow plays the final girl, Dana Davis is her friend, and the overworked cop is played by Idris Elba. With such a practiced and talented cast, the acting is rather less wooden than the norm.
This is helped by the script, which – although again not ground-breaking – is consistently solid. The dialogue sounds like things real people might say, and happens at times that real people might say it. That sounds like a low bar to meet, but it’s genuinely unusual for a slasher film. In addition, the plot is pretty coherent; nothing strains credulity too far, and both the killer’s and victims’ actions make sense.
It’s not a gory or even particularly violent film. People die, but it’s mostly off-camera or curiously bloodless. The film was rated as a 15, but it’s no more explicit than Pirates of the Carribbean.
Prom Night is probably best described by the word “professional”. So many horror films have, or actively try and fake, a sort of bargain-basement aesthetic, going for apparent authenticity through rubber masks and awkward acting. Prom Night doesn’t do that – the same basic idea as all those other films is here, but it’s a polished version, the corners rounded off and the wires tucked away.
Prom Night is an hour and a half of well-constructed slashing with an uncharacteristically strong cast. It’s not brilliant or innovative, but it’s definitely watchable.