Prom Night Review

The original “I Know What You Did Last Summer”, “Prom Night” is a classic old-school slasher film, but from Canada, eh?

Six years ago, High School seniors Kelly (Mary Beth Rubens), Jude (Joy Thompson), Wendy (Anne-Marie Martin) and Nick (Casey Stevens) have been hiding a terrible secret: the truth about what happened to ten-year-old Robin Hammond the day she died, after falling from a window while they taunted her. But someone saw what happened and has bided their time but now, on Prom Night, a masked killer is finally making them pay for their crime.

There’s nothing much original in “Prom Night”. It’s equal parts “Halloween” – especially thanks to the presence of Jamie Lee Curtis – “Psycho” and “Carrie” and, like “Grease” it seems to be set in one of those remedial High School s where the students have all been kept back five to ten academic years and are now graduating in their mid-twenties to early thirties.

Nielsen, cast due to his status as the preeminent Canadian actor of the time (Shatner still building back from his mid-seventies slump at the time), plays the father of both Curtis’ character and the young girl whose death sets everything in motion. He gets top billing although it’s really not his story as the movie concentrates on the ‘kids’ high school hijinks leading up to the ill-fated prom. It dwells on the trauma of losing a sibling far more than the loss of a child, although thanks to its deliberately patient build-up to a frenetic last half hour, he is one of the half dozen potential suspects when the slashing starts.

As a slasher movie, it’s got a reasonably sharp edge and “Scream” definitely wouldn’t have been the same without inheriting some DNA from “Prom Night” but slasher movies have rarely been so soft-focussed, like nearly the whole movie is shot in ‘last-scene-of-“Carrie”-o-vision’.

It merits a Nielsen Rating, though, because it’s one of the last – if not the last – purely dramatic roles Nielsen would play on the big screen and certainly the highest-profile. “Airplane!” lay ahead, of course, and that would only be the beginning…

Leslie Nielsen Rating 06

Nielsen Rating 6/10

Nielsen Ratings

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