Hello and Hallo-welcome to this year’s final edition of Slasher Saturday, where the only answer to pre-martial sex is a good stabbing! You join your reviewers, Andy and Lilly, as they don their prom duds and get ready for the best night of the lives–no matter how shortened-by-axe-murderer they may be.
Today’s film offering: Prom Night
Lilly: Our story starts with several kids playing a game of ‘Murderer’ being stumbled upon by three other children, one of which wants to join in. She goes into the building (an abandoned convent, which of course children love to play in) and her attempts to join in lead to a tragic accident (not to mention a tragic scene where her whole family, siblings included, show up to see her body being taken away–I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again, get a SITTER, people).
Andy: Of course, there’s not any explanation as to why she’s being excluded; only that these kids don’t like her because they are angry, hateful jerks. As to why she’d want to play with these kids isn’t really touched upon either – they’re just a little bit too young to be the ‘popular’ kids, something I associate more with teenagers. And of course these kids immediately swear never to tell anyone about the tragedy because they’ll go to JAIL.
Lilly: Fast forward to six years later, and it’s prom night! Because nothing says revenge like getting it on prom night–or so Carrie taught us. The children have grown up and it’s time they paid for what they did, damn it! Throw in a few red herrings, like a man who was charged with the little girl’s murder getting loose and a creepy groundskeeper at the school they all attend, and you got yourself Prom Night.
As long time fans of Jamie Lee Curtis, we felt we might be robbing ourselves, having not seen this classic from 1980. Well, we weren’t. Surprise! A cheesy slasher I don’t like! Well. It was funny at times–at one point, a guy named ‘Slick’ punches the killer clear out of the back of a van which I found hysterical–and Jamie Lee was fantastic in her dance scene, but…okay, well, a slasher having a dance scene I’m usually for (The Final Girls is a great example of this), but even Jamie Lee boogie-oogie-ooging couldn’t save this from being not all that great.
Andy: Yeah, this one commits the cardinal sin of horror movies anywhere; it’s really, really boring. There’s no sense of suspense or build up, the setup is long, long, looong, and there’s nothing I can really point at and say “Yes. This is a reason you should see this.”
Lilly: Some upsides? The children were scary enough to warrant the little girl’s accident while running from them–I wanted to run from them and I wasn’t in the spooky abandoned building. Then there was Leslie Nielsen, who was a great principal/grieving parent for as little as we saw him for his top billing. That man was a national treasure. And there were some brief glimpses at actual weighty moments, like when Nick, one of the kids who chased the girl (and JLC’s little sister) to her death, tries to admit his guilt to JLC because he cares about her, but doesn’t because, well. That’s a relationship deal breaker for most people.
Andy: Yes, but even then it’s not all that much, because even in the really drawn out snoozefest first half, the film still somehow fails to give us much sense of who these people are or what they’re like. They’re not even developed enough to be stereotypes – even the girl chiefly responsible for the death at the beginning only comes across as vaguely bitchy rather than the High School Villainess that appears everywhere else in movies. There’s not enough here to be angry about. It’s all just so boring.
Lilly: Some downsides? Well. A lot of it. Gratuitous breasts and bums, weird characterisation (why did Wendy hate that old lady she lived with so much, she seemed lovely!), a confusing ending, and why did the murderer start with a shard of glass and suddenly upgrade to an ax? Stay on message, murderer!
Andy: Not to mention the problematic elements of showing the tits of someone we last saw as a ten year old. You can probably skip this one.
Lilly: As long time fans of JLC, we’re saying don’t bother going, watching, and trying to enjoy this one–it’s just a collection of moments that have been bettered in other films, in other franchises, and even other JLC films! Go watch those! Prom Night, however, is a miss for us.