Review of Prom Night

Prom Night (1980)
4/10
Disappointing slasher
26 February 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Well, this is considered a slasher classic. Why exactly I don't know.

It's not horrible or anything like that, there have certainly been worse slashers made. Intentionally or not (I believe the latter) the film does build up a certain amount of mood in the opening 50 minutes or so, with the introduction of the would-be victims. This flick drags on forever without anything really happening in that time, but somehow it goes by pretty nicely. Solid performances by Curtis and Leslie Nielsen could explain part of that.

The execution of the all-important final third (i.e. the killings) is awfully poor. The kills are unimaginative, poorly timed and paced and very clumsily done. I did like the fact that the killer here fumbled a bit in trying to off the characters (after all; not everyone has the super powers of Michael Myers or Jason Vorhees) but editing here and lazy direction kill the suspense.

Spoilers:

Also, the red herrings! Talk about cheaply done. Throwing in an employee on the school grounds who's mysteriously present at odd moments and always gives the girls a sinister look and there's no payoff with the dude. He's just there to look suspicious.

The maniac who escapes from a mental asylum and nothing happens with that dude either. Every viewer over the age of twelve knows he's not responsible for what's about to happen. And we're not even rewarded with an extra kill scene or something. This is cheap.

And what happened to Leslie Nielsen and his wife? Did the ground eat them up? They just disappear and don't even show up for the dramatic finale! I agree with a reviewer who stated this fact and said only "lazy film-making".

End of spoiler.

Prom Night squanders it's potential in a big way. Now, I love good slashers and this film gets high marks for having Jamie Lee Curtis in it and Leslie Nielsen but I think 4 is being quite generous.

Although I found it a novelty to have the big showdown in the end accompanied by cheesy disco music. I didn't look half-bad.

Overall; Prom Night is disappointing.
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