Nelson McCormick’s “Prom Night” is not even technically a remake, at all. In fact most of the film doesn’t even take place during prom night. After drudging through an endless array of teen melodrama that was obviously only a lead up to the killing, director Nelson McCormack’s thriller seems to actively work at not being scary. Perhaps it’s to keep from offending the young audience to which this PG-13 snooze fest was touted to, but “Prom Night 2008” lacks any of the inherent terror the original film possessed, however minimal it is.
There’s even an inexplicable killer Richard, a teacher stalking young Donna Keppel, the former of whom we know nothing about until a therapist conveniently explains who he is and why he is. After becoming obsessed with his student, Richard breaks in to Donna Keppel’s house murders her entire family. Years later after surviving the event, Donna, living with her aunt and uncle, is preparing for the big prom. But when Richard breaks out of the asylum to find Donna, police race to stop him before he kills her and everyone else she loves. “Prom Night” feels a lot more inexplicable in its plot indicating that the script was never fully realized or all that well developed by the writers.
Was Donna his actual student? Has he been obsessed with other students before? Believe it or not, this incoherent obsessed teacher Richard Fenton manages to become Batman as he overpowers two orderlies, and breaks out of his insane asylum with barely a police bulletin at all. We even get to see the video where he sneaks out through a vent, but suspiciously no one seems to be trying to stop him from doing so. Here is a mad killer who is barely given a police bulletin or a news bulletin upon his escape who is also allowed to mix among a group of teens preparing for prom, and rent a room at a high priced hotel with barely a second glance from the staff. He’s also allowed to roam about the hotel conveniently being put under construction, and even kills a head maid.
Donna (the lovely Brittany Snow) is one of the rare breed of brain dead final girls who, in spite of suffering from post traumatic stress disorder, is still able to walk around dark hotel rooms and even goes back for her scarf when the hotel is evacuated. No seriously. While “Prom Night” 2008 is not the worst remake of the year (Ahem—“One Missed Call”), it’s one of the most ill conceived horror films I’ve ever seen that seems to avoid (consciously?) any chance at being scary or remotely suspenseful. “Prom Night” has every chance to be remade in to a decent slasher film, but it’s tough to make great material out of such lazy, monotonous, studio mandated fodder.