Let me start off by acknowledging that anyone who had any interest at all in Prom Night saw it on the opening weekend. If you are one of the lucky ones that avoided it, stay away from it at the video store and keep it the hell off your Netflix list.
I have to give the filmmakers this: they made an utterly unobjectionable film about a killing machine teacher obsessed with one of his students. If you are a parent, you actually could show your six year old child Prom Night without fear of nightmares. Except don't.
We meet Donna Keppel on the most important day of her life, the Senior Prom. In a yawn-inducing almost blood-free flashback, we learn that years ago, Donna's pervy teacher (Jonathan Schaech) came to her house and murdered her family. I suppose on the theory that then she'd be free and they could go and live together.
Donna returned home from a date just in time to hide under the bed and witness Pervy Teacher stab her mom. Since the murders, Donna has lived with her aunt and uncle, is in therapy, and has gotten into Brown University. (I admit the part about Brown made me jump out of my seat and cover my eyes.)
Needless to say, Pervy Teacher escapes from prison and makes a beeline for the hotel where the prom is going to be held. He starts daintily carving folks up as he works his way to Donna but at least he has the PG-13 induced courtesy to generally do his murdering just off screen and his victims are polite enough not to bleed too much.
The film's fatal flaw is that every single setting and character is a cypher. The film is set in an unidentified upper middle class surburbia. Donna's date for the prom might as well have been played by a mannequin. Her sassy black friends are boring.
Granted, the average horror movie does not offer the most well rounded characters, but the best offer an off-kilter point of view from the filmmakers or at least the killings are over the top enough to make up for any lack of characterization.
The final indictment of this film? The teenagers sitting behind me clearly wanted to unload and start talking back to the screen but Prom Night never gives you an opening. Finally, when one of the girls started running backwards without taking off her broken high heel, I heard a sad voice mutter, "Everybody in this movie is fucking stupid."