Prom dances with dullness

As of late, it has been a trend to remake classic horror flicks. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Dawn of the Dead, Black Christmas and Halloween have all received Hollywood facelifts within the past five years. While some remakes are fun and refreshing, most notably Zack Snyder’s Dawn of the Dead, others feel unjustified or just plain stupid.

While the original Prom Night does not have the same acclaim or status of the aforementioned classics, it nevertheless has a substantial following.

In fact, if any “classic” horror film should be remade, Prom Night would be an excellent choice. The original is riddled with problems, so if producers are going to insist on remaking horror movies, they should throw their money at something that needs fixing.

It is with great regret I must report that the new Prom Night has fixed nothing. Though the movie does not start out as a total failure, it meticulously paces itself as though that is its ultimate goal.

Strangely enough, when certain elements of the movie are evaluated individually, there are no glaring problems. Keep in mind this is a PG-13 horror movie directed at teens, so standards should not be exceptionally high.

The young cast does an admirable job of acting like giddy teens on their special night. Though they have inane conversations about this and that, it still all feels somewhat genuine. The camerawork throughout the film is acceptable, though it does sometimes seem as though the director is trying to be a little more stylish than the movie is worth. The soundtrack is awful, yet very fitting for the subject matter and will likely be a crowd-pleaser for the target audience.

All of those things added together seem as though they would equal a semi-decent Friday flick, especially given the genre that it’s in. Yet in this case, the sum does not equal more than its parts. The sum doesn’t even equal its parts. The story and pacing drag the film down so much that it is hard to be forgiving toward the elements that work. Instead, the viewer will just end up feeling disappointed at the missed opportunity to remake the movie into something more.

The story follows Donna (Brittany Snow), who is still recovering from witnessing the death of her family at the hands of her obsessed teacher. It’s now years later, the teacher is locked away, and Donna is getting ready for her super sweet prom night that is being hosted at a luxurious hotel. But uh-oh, the professor of death has escaped, and he just might be coming home to teach a lesson…of doom!

Oooh, spooky! But seriously, the story itself is not awful; it’s just that it never really gets any more depth than what I summarized in three sentences.

Unfortunately, the movie turns into a cycle of teens “going to check on what’s keeping (insert name here) upstairs in the suite for so long.” So one-by-one we get to witness each individual go upstairs, hear some noises, slowly walk around, check stuff out, let their guard down, and then get whacked. The monotony even sucks out the campy B-movie fun that should be in adequate supply.

The thing that further sucks suspense and momentum out of the movie is the ever-present villain. It’s not that he’s so scary that you sense he’s always around; I mean he is frequently onscreen, fully-revealed. Because the audience is constantly aware of where he is, along with the repetitive nature of the plotline, there is never any reason to feel afraid.

Every once in awhile, theaters will be graced with a remake that, while possibly not as important or influential as the original, still brings something to the table. Prom Night does not. An unfortunate missed opportunity.