Prom Night (2008) Movie Poster Image

Prom Night (2008)

Tedious slasher flick is both gory and boring.
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Horror
  • Release Year: 2008
  • Running Time: 88 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Some discussion of class; a rival for prom queen notes that "I just want Crissy to know she can't buy everything." Crissy is also referred to as a "rich bitch." And then there are all the killings...

Violence

A total of 13 murders, mostly committed with a knife (although there are some stranglings and a shooting as well, plus scuffling, someone's face getting smashed into a mirror, and kicks to the face). Many of the murders occur off screen, and viewers never see a knife cutting or stabbing into flesh, but there's plenty of spurting blood and shots of bloody murder weapons. Several corpses with visible bloody stab wounds or lying in pools of blood are shown.

Sex

Cleavage discussed and on display; characters talk about "alone time," "looking sexy," and "getting laid." The protagonist's stalker is clearly motivated by romantic/sexual pathology. A group of older men invite female teens up to their hotel rooms; the young women laugh it off. On-screen sexuality is limited to light making out in the context of committed relationships.

Language

Language includes "goddamn," "s--t," "damn," "hell," and "bitch."

Consumerism

Only one logo visible -- Jones Soda -- although one character offers another "a Midol" for cramps.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

A group of teens hoists a beer keg into the hotel; another underage attendee is busted trying to smuggle a bottle into the prom. A third character pours alcohol from a flask into his soda. The lead character has been taking Klonpin for anxiety, but at the start of the film has not been taking it for a week: "I don't want to feel numb ... I should be a little bit nervous on prom night, right?" Later, she does take one, albeit with good reason.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this violent (yet curiously dull) slasher-style teen horror film -- which is a loose remake of the identically named 1980 Jamie Lee Curtis movie -- includes a constant stream of stabbings, stranglings, and other murders, all of which are committed without craft, tension, or any subtlety whatsoever. It's just a string of killings and gory bloodshed. There's also some discussion of sex and sexuality, references to underage drinking, and strong language ("s--t").

What's the story?

Donna Kepple (Brittany Snow) is haunted by nightmares; three years ago, her teacher, Mr. Fenton (Jonathon Schaech), became obsessed with her, and that madness turned murderous. After a series of killings, Fenton was caught, and while Donna is safe with her aunt and uncle, she's still troubled by what happened to her. Now it's PROM NIGHT, and Donna and her friends are off for the crowning evening of their high school careers -- which, of course, is when viewers find out that Fenton has escaped custody. Soon, Donna and her friends are all marked for death as a killer stalks the hotel halls. ...

Is it any good?

QUALITY

Prom Night is a fairly plotless film, even by the low standards of horror moviemaking. From the outset, we're told who the killer is and what he wants, so there are no red herrings or misdirection, just a series of slashings and stabbings as various prom attendees and innocent bystanders are picked off one by one. Schaech's Fenton is a shabby, thinly-drawn bad guy, and Snow's Donna is a plucky, standard-issue horror film heroine. Even the superb Idris Elba (The Wire) is wasted as a cardboard caricature cop who's infuriatingly inept. Prom Night feels more generic than anything else -- like it was assembled from a box labeled "Horror Movie Scenes."

Deeply flawed, Prom Night is a by-the-numbers horror flick that confuses mere violence with real vitality and substitutes shock for suspense. Compared to better-done examples of the genre (see below), it manages to be both violent and deathly dull.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the appeal of horror films. How would you describe the experience of watching them? Why do they so often put young women in peril? Families can also discuss the difference between shock and suspense and the difference between violence and tension. Main character Donna is dealing with a clear case of post-traumatic stress syndrome; families can talk about trying to recover from tragedy and violence.

Movie details

Theatrical release date:April 11, 2008
DVD/Streaming release date:August 18, 2008
Cast:Brittany Snow, Dana Davis, Johnathon Schaech
Director:Nelson McCormick
Studio:Screen Gems
Genre:Horror
Run time:88 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:violence and terror, some sexual material, underage drinking, and language.

This review of Prom Night (2008) was written by

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Teen, 14 years old Written byPART III July 29, 2012

Wow, just wow

Not scary, or clever in any way, it trys to be like other thrillers but dies about 2 minutes into it.
Teen, 17 years old Written byhorrormovielover676 December 30, 2013

good but not the best.

It was a great movie. It wasn't better then the first one but It was good. I jumped a few times like everybody does and its gory but not like 'im gonna throw up' gory. I wouldn't suggest it for twelve year olds but I think it depends what your like with horror movies. if you get scared easily I wouldn't suggest this.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Kid, 12 years old February 23, 2011

Good movie. I loved it.

I don't find anything wrong with the film. Not a slasher, isn't gory, and pulls you in with suspence, not horror. The role models are good, the protective boyfriend loses his own life ensuring Donna's safty. Friends (try to) help each other out. With the whole "sex" issue, I found nothing wrong with it, At most (appropriate aged) teens kissed, and older veiwers might notice a blit of an obsession the teacher has for the girl, but if you let a child watch this, they'll think nothing of it. Also, ther is no blood, guts, gore, or anything of the sort.
What other families should know
Great role models