Prom Night (1980)

Genres - Horror  |   Sub-Genres - Slasher Film  |   Run Time - 87 min.  |   Countries - Canada  |   MPAA Rating - R
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Review by Donald Guarisco

Prom Night suffers the same problems that hinder a lot of films in the slasher cycle: its "teenagers" are suspiciously long in the tooth, the surprise killer isn't too tough to guess, and a lot of the peripheral characters fall into easily labeled types (the bully, the reluctant virgin, etc.). There is also a lengthy, dated disco-dancing scene sure to make those who hate that musical genre running for the exits. Despite these problems, Prom Night utilizes a surprising amount of skill both behind and in front of the camera as it goes through its paces. Jamie Lee Curtis makes a poised and sympathetic heroine and Leslie Nielsen lends credible support in a pre-Airplane!, non-comedic role as her principal father. Prom Night further benefits from stylish direction by Paul Lynch, who brings an unexpectedly artsy touch to the suspense scenes. Highlights include a creepy chase through a darkened school and the gruesome "crowning" of the prom king and queen near the finale. All in all, Prom Night lacks the clever twists and consistent inspiration of a classic horror film, but offers enough solid frights to please hardcore horror buffs.