If Kevin Federline showed up at your senior prom, you'd be pretty scared too.
Legendary author Stephen King once described his approach to horror as (and I'm paraphrasing): "If I cannot terrify, I will try to horrify, and if I find that I cannot horrify, I'll go for the gross-out." A good tip for any would-be horror filmmaker, and one sadly unheeded by the producers of Prom Night, a futile, toothless horror remake that fails to register in any of King's categories.
Brittany Snow stars as Donna, a perky high school senior whose family was brutally murdered three years prior by an obsessed stalker (Johnathon Schaech). She's recovered remarkably well since that fateful night, and aside from her daily dose of anti-anxiety meds and the occasional terrifying nightmare, she's just like any other teenager, looking forward to graduation and getting ready for her senior prom. When the night of the big dance arrives, Donna and her pals Claire (Jessica Stroup) and Lisa (Dana Davis) happily go about their preparations, unaware of the fact that Donna's stalker has escaped from a "maximum security asylum" 2000 miles away and is making his way across the country to finish the job. Unshaven, wearing a baseball hat and looking eerily like Britney Spears' ex-husband Kevin Federline, the determined psychopath sets about his grim business of dispatching all of Donna's friends, one by one.
Crippling Prom Night from the outset is its PG-13 rating, which instantly robs director Nelson McCormick of the "horrify" and "gross-out" options. (Indeed, each time the camera cuts to a character that's been previously stabbed, their wounds have strangely disappeared, as if each of the killer's victims possesses super-human, Wolverine-like powers of self-healing.) This might be ok if it were a smart psychological thriller like last year's PG-13 freakout 1408 (based on a short story by King, incidentally), which relied on paranoia-inducing mind games to achieve high marks in the "terrify" category. But Prom Night is a straight-up slasher flick, and when you can't see any of the slashing, it becomes, well...just a flick. And a highly forgettable one at that.
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