Prom Night is a 2008 American slasher film from Screen Gems directed by Nelson McCormick. The film is primarily a remake of the 1980 Canadian slasher film of the same name which starred scream queen Jamie Lee Curtis. The film stars an ensemble cast including Brittany Snow, Scott Porter, Jessica Stroup, Dana Davis, Collins Pennie, Kelly Blatz, James Ransone, Brianne Davis, Kellan Lutz, Mary Mara, Ming-Na Wen, Johnathon Schaech, and Idris Elba with supporting roles done by Jessalyn Gilsig, Linden Ashby, Jana Kramer, and Rachel Specter.
The film's plot concerns a high school girl named Donna Keppel (Brittany Snow) who was traumatized after witnessing her former teacher Richard Fenton (Johnathon Schaech) brutally murder her entire family after he had become dangerously obsessed with her. Three years later, as Donna is getting ready for her senior prom, Richard Fenton escapes custody from the authorities and follows her to the hotel hosting the prom and kills anybody who gets in his way of reuniting with Donna.
In 2005, Bridgeport native Donna Keppel (Brittany Snow), a high school freshman, returns home from a movie date with her friend Lisa Hines (Dana Davis) to find her father and brother have been killed. In terror, Donna hides under the bed, where she sees her mother (Lori Heuring) struggling with Richard Fenton (Johnathon Schaech), a former teacher of hers who had become obsessed with Donna. As Donna locks eyes with her terrified mother, she witnesses Fenton murder her.
In present day 2008, Donna, now a high school senior, is now living with her Aunt Karen (Jessalyn Gilsig) and Uncle Jack (Linden Ashby), and is about to graduate from high school. Although she has recovered from the incident she is still taking anti-depressants to cope with her depression and seeing her psychiatrist Dr. Elisha Crowe (Ming-Na Wen). Donna and her friends are getting ready to attend their senior prom that night. Donna, Lisa and Claire (Jessica Stroup) are getting ready at the hairdressers and Donna suddenly turns around to see Fenton, but realizes she was just seeing things. Hours later, Donna's boyfriend, Bobby (Scott Porter), arrives at her house, along with her friends and their boyfriends, Ronnie (Collins Pennie) and Michael (Kelly Blatz).
At the police station, Detective Winn (Idris Elba), who imprisoned Fenton three years ago, learns that Fenton has escaped from prison and warns Karen and Jack. Karen thinks Donna should come home in case Fenton finds her location, but Jack convinces her that she should stay at the prom. At the prom, Fenton arrives at the hotel disguised as a man named Howard K. Ramsey, and takes a room on Donna's floor and kills the housekeeper (Jacqueline Herrera) to get the master key. On the dance floor, Claire has a fight with her boyfriend, Michael, and goes up to her room with Donna to calm down. After Donna leaves, Claire is alone and hears noises. She sees Fenton, who proceeds to lock Claire into a room, to stab and kill her. When Claire does not return, Michael goes upstairs to see her. Fenton hides in the room's closet, but Michael sees him shut the closet door. Michael opens the closet and is thrown to the ground by Fenton, who murders him.
Detective Winn arrives and warns the hotel staff to be on the alert. Fenton kills a hotel employee (Joshua Leonard) looking for the maid and takes his uniform. Lisa and Ronnie bump into Fenton in the elevator on their way to the room. While making out, Lisa realizes that it was Fenton and runs off to warn Donna which makes Ronnie sad as he was about to propose but, after taking the stairs, she is caught by Fenton. She is chased down to the basement of the hotel where construction is taking place and she hides from Fenton. Lisa hides and sees Ronnie looking for her. Lisa leaves her spot and makes a run for it, but when Ronnie calls her name, Lisa is caught and killed. Winn and Detective Nash (James Ransone) find the body of the real Howard Ramsey in his car trunk. Winn goes up to the room and finds the housekeeper's body. Knowing for sure that Fenton is in the building under the name Ramsey, Winn sounds the emergency alarm and has the entire hotel evacuated. Donna goes back to the room to retrieve her mother's shawl and runs into Fenton and is attacked by him.
Realizing Donna is still inside, Winn races back up to the room. Donna escapes Fenton. SWAT and police search the hotel, but find no sign of Fenton. Winn discovers the body of the employee Fenton killed earlier, and realizes Fenton left the hotel in the employee's uniform. Winn now races back to Donna's house and finds Detective Nash dead in his squad car. Inside, Donna goes to the bathroom and returns to find Bobby's throat has been slit. She sees a shadow out in the hall and she hides in her closet, thinking the shadow is Fenton's. The person in the hall is revealed to be Detective Winn, and Fenton grabs Donna in the closet. Winn is about to open the closet but hears a scream from Donna's aunt, from noticing the dead officer on the ground outside, so Winn runs to her bedroom. Donna is attacked by Fenton, and a violent struggle ensues. When Fenton is about to stab Donna, Winn runs in and shoots Fenton several times, killing him. Donna cries over Bobby's dead body, and Winn tells her it is over.
The budget for the film was $20 million. It was produced by Original Film and Newmarket Films in association with Alliance Films, which holds the rights to the original franchise, along with sequel rights. It was released in the United States by Screen Gems, in Canada by Alliance Films, and in Australia by Sony Pictures. The film was shot in the vicinity of South Pasadena, California as the location for Donna Keppel's home. Park Plaza Hotel (Los Angeles) was used as the location for Prom. The Yaquina Bay Bridge is shown in the opening scenes of the movie.
Prom Night was not screened in advance for critics. The film was generally panned by critics. The review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reported that 8% of critics gave the film positive reviews, based on 63 reviews with the critical consensus stating: "A dim and predictable remake of an already dull slasher film, this Prom Night fails to be memorable". On Metacritic, the film has an average score of 17 out of 100, based on 12 reviews.
Johnathon Schaech was nominated for the MTV Movie Award for Best Villain, but lost against Heath Ledger for his role as the Joker in Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight.
In its opening weekend, the film grossed $20,804,941 in 2,700 theaters in the United States and Canada, ranking #1 at the box office and averaging $7,705 per theater, despite harsh critical reviews. In Australia, Prom Night opened at the #3 position making $854,514, just behind Superhero Movie and The Spiderwick Chronicles. In the United Kingdom, Prom Night opened at the #4 position making Â£507,985, just behind Sex and the City, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and Superhero Movie. The film has a domestic gross of $43,869,350 and a foreign gross of $12,728,210 for a worldwide total of $56,597,560. According to Boxofficemojo, the film is currently ranked as the 16th highest grossing slasher film and the 14th best Horror Remake.
The DVD and Blu-ray Disc was released on August 19, 2008 in theatrical (88 minutes) and unrated (89 minutes) versions. Both formats contain deleted scenes and an alternate ending. It was released in Australia on Blu-ray and 2 Disc DVD Edition on August 27, 2008. In FYE stores in the US, the unrated edition came with a bonus disc called "Body Count: Investigating the Murders of Prom Night", which is a 22-minute documentary about the murders of various characters about the film, as well as various techniques the director used to make the murders scarier. Includes interviews with Nelson McCormick (director) and other members of the cast of the film.
- Official website
- Prom Night at the Internet Movie Database
- Prom Night at AllMovie
- Prom Night at Box Office Mojo
- Prom Night at Rotten Tomatoes
- Prom Night at Metacritic