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Prom Night script review

02.22.2007

I had stated the other day I was a big fan of the earlier PROM NIGHT movies (just Parts 1 and 2) so I was eager to read the script for the new Sony/Screen Gems remake. That eagerness wore off around Page 3.

PROM NIGHT
by JS Cardone
dated 1/3/07

I read this script for PROM NIGHT, which clocks in at a swift 100 pages, and waited and waited for something interesting to happen. My naivete that the script couldn't be this bad was the only thing that kept me reading. There's gotta be a twist, a hook, something!, I kept saying to myself. Nope. Nothing. It really is just that bad. So bad, in fact, I'm actually reconsidering my negative thoughts on Rob Zombie's HALLOWEEN script. At least that had some original (if not flawed) thoughts and concepts.

The PROM NIGHT script, which was completely rewritten from the earlier script by Stephen Susco (author of THE GRUDGE who explains how this version is nothing like his script here at his blog), reminds me of last year's WHEN A STRANGER CALLS. PG-13, teen girl, horror-lite. This isn't a movie targeted towards people who read Fangoria, more so people who watch read Seventeen. I guess there's a market for this but quality it most definitely is not. This is just... boy, where do I begin...

First off, PROM NIGHT 2008 is nothing like the original PROM NIGHT. The only similarities they have are prom night and a killer. I can understand ditching (or slightly altering) the original's plotline as many modern-day teens know that premise from I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER, but instead all we get is Slasher Flick 101. This version focuses on a young girl named DONNA. The opening sequence has Donna's entire family is killed by a menacing figure known only as KILLER. That's our guy - Killer. He's apparently a guy who's got a thing for Donna and by killing her entire family, he hopes to win over her heart. What about a Pajamagram bud?

Donna is traumatized, natch, but is slowly recovering through therapy, medication and the help of her new guardians, AUNT KAREN and UNCLE JACK. In a true show of how much went into this, they are often mistakenly referred to as her mother and father in the script narration. Donna, "beautiful, with a fragile air around her," is now 17 and getting ready for her prom. You won't believe this coincidence but that guy who killed her parents - Killer - he's back! He escaped from a mental hospital through a air vent! Yup, an air vent!

Thus begins the plot and by plot I mean, Killer stalks Donna and kills people at her prom. Without giving too much away, 75% of the kills take place in the exact same location with the promgoers repeatedly having to come up with retarded excuses (which range from "we need to talk" to "let's have sex" to "I forgot my sash!") for heading to that location. Even more depressing, when they arrive at this destination, the kills aren't even inventive! Stab or slash, that's all we get. At one point, a jock-y character is pleading with his girlfriend to come out of a bathroom to talk to him, only it's not his girlfriend in the bathroom but Killer. He's got his hands and head both pressed up against the door, emotionally pleading with her. "Oooh, ram the knife through the door and right into his head Killer!," I said to myself. No dice.

A trademark of this script is the faux suspense with no payoff. Just read this sample passage:

We begin to see the reflection of what's behind her, and you just know there's going to be something to scare the hell out of her... but there's NOTHING!"

This happens about a hundred times during the script. There are countless such "NOTHING!" instances and is there anything worse than a horror movie where NOTHING happens?

Part of the appeal of the original film was that it was something of a slow burn as you got to know and care about the characters. This one doesn't even give its killer much of a backstory (aside from maybe one line) and just pegs him as a stereotypical movie psycho with evil eyes and, despite being described as "thin and gaunt," possessing superhuman strength.

Reading this script and becoming increasingly frustrated with it as I progressed, I remembered an old saying someone once told me. If a snake bites you, it goes, there's no sense in getting angry at the snake. That's what a snake does. It's bites things to protect yourself. Be angry at yourself for being foolish enough to handle the snake. I'm warning you that this snake does bite so don't be foolish and pick it up yourself. Otherwise you've got nothing to be angry at but yourself.

Source: JoBlo.com

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