Three years ago, it all went horribly wrong for teenage Donna Keppel (Brittany Snow) when the man who was stalking her, her ex-teacher Richard Fenton (Johnathon Schaech) broke into her house one night while she was out. She returned later to find a gruesome scene: her father, her mother and her younger brother had all been slaughtered by this maniac, and to make matters worse he was lying in wait for her, too, averring that nobody but he could have her. Now, in the present, Donna still has nightmares after all her therapy, but tonight is her high school prom, so she will put it all behind her...
Oh no she won't, because Fenton has just escaped that very evening and somehow knows what her exact movements will be, going back to his evil stalker ways. Just as this film starts with a horrible cover version of an old Zombies song, this was also a horrible cover version of an old Canadian slasher movie from 1980 which was notable for being one of the efforts that then-scream queen Jamie Lee Curtis starred in before graduating to other genres. Although aside from the title and the premise of a killer disrupting a senior prom, they had little in common: no severed head rolling onto the dancefloor hilarity here.
Not even any equivalent to the scene in the original where Curtis busted some moves to a prime slice of cheesy disco, as Snow preferred to keep her dignity intact in that area, although the music in this was just as bad. This Prom Night was altogether too slick as its creators fashioned an entertainment best described as utterly soulless, leaving the blander cast members (most of the boyfriends, basically) interchangeable and the ones who dared to exhibit a little personality all at sea in a plot that wanted nothing more than to have them go through the uninteresting motions that mass market Hollywood horror had been reduced to in the twenty-first century.
There was such a lack of explanation for what we see that even the source's dramatic introduction that set up the whole story was missing: all you needed to know was that the killer was on the loose, and who cared why he showed such a fascination with the none too exciting Donna? All the movie cared about was setting up the potential victims with irksomely vacuous dialogue and then having Fenton skulk about until they were on their own whereupon he would strike. But with no motivation, and as much personality as everyone else in this, he had to be one of the least arresting psycho characters in horror movies - they might as well have had him replaced with a cardboard cutout.
Equally because there was barely any gore, either, so shocker fans were shortchanged in the special effects department too. Every so often there would be a hint at a way this could have been made to sparkle, to intrigue, but these elements were ruthlessly pared away, or watered down to be more precise, in favour of nothing scenes. You couldn't even get mad at this Prom Night, it simply farted about showing the barest minimum of engagement with its material, confident that there would be enough of an audience to make them back their money (which they did on their opening weekend). Bits of business like the girl who was more interested in winning the Prom Queen title than any murdering, or the grief that one boy shows when his date is killed, hinted at something more satisfying, but that might have required some exertion. Even the cops in this couldn't be bothered alerting those in danger in time, you know, like their job supposedly entails? Music by Paul Haslinger.