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There ought to be a law against "PG-13" slasher movies, as the end result usually turns out to be bloodless, brain dead and boring. Case in point- PROM NIGHT ($39), which is indeed bloodless, brain dead and boring. Sheesh… I’ve seen scarier made for TV horror movies than PROM NIGHT. Does the desire to sell movie tickets to teenagers, who can’t get into "R" rated movies, outweigh all other considerations, when it comes to making horror movies these days? Lets face it, characters are supposedly getting stabbed repeatedly and having their throats cut in PROM NIGHT, yet in real life, I have seen paper cuts and nose bleeds where the victims have produced more blood. As a horror movie fan, I am genuinely insulted by what are passing for genre films these days. Somebody should contact John Carpenter and Wes Craven and beg them to show movie executives what horror movies should be like.

PROM NIGHT did start in a promising enough fashion, with teenager Donna Keppel (Brittany Snow) returning home to find her father and brother dead, then obsessed schoolteacher Richard Fenton (Johnathon Schaech) stabbing the girl’s mother to death right before her eyes. From here, the film starts going downhill… starting with the teacher being caught and sent off to the loony bin. Three years pass… Donna is still having nightmares about the event, but life goes on and its prom night. But guess what? The obsessed schoolteacher has broken out of the psycho ward and is hightailing it to the hotel where Donna’s prom is being held. As expected, the bodies teenage stock characters (who look like they pushing thirty) begin piling up, while ineffectual police detectives chase their tails and the audience prays for the end credits to hurry up and start rolling. The cast of PROM NIGHT also features Scott Porter, Jessica Stroup, Dana Davis, Collins Pennie, Kelly Blatz, James Ransone, Brianne Davis, Kellan Lutz, Mary Mara, Ming-Na, Idris Elba, Jessalyn Gilsig and Linden Ashby.

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has made PROM NIGHT available on Blu-ray Disc in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio presentation that has been encoded onto the disc with the AVC codec. Despite everything that is wrong with PROM NIGHT as a horror movie, the 1080p presentation is really beautiful. PROM NIGHT has been attractively photographed so the image is always sharp and bristling with detail and dimensionality. Fine details such as flaws in the actors skin, individual hairs and textures of fabrics are always clearly discernible. Colors appear fully saturated, while the flesh tones are highly attractive. Blacks are inky, whites are crisp and contrast is smooth. Shadow detail is remarkably good, but the dark sequences in the movie are never dark enough to create any suspense anyway. The elements from which PROM NIGHT have been transferred appear relatively free from blemishes. There is some grain in the image, which keeps the presentation film like.

PROM NIGHT is presented on Blu-ray Disc with a 5.1 channel Dolby TrueHD soundtrack. For the most part, the sound design is reminiscent of a talky teen drama, so there isn’t much going on sonically to impress anyone. However, this being a supposed horror movie, so the discrete channels are sometimes utilized for sound effects placement and occasional zingers. Fidelity is just fine; sound effects are convincing enough and the musical component sounds good. The bass channel is deep enough for the material, but the material doesn’t provide much opportunity for low frequencies. Dialogue is always crisp and easy to understand. A Portuguese 5.1 Dolby TrueHD is also encoded onto the disc, as are Spanish and Thai Dolby Digital 5.1 channel tracks. Subtitles are available in English, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Korean, Thai and Indonesian.

Full motion video, animation and sound serve to enhance the disc’s interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to the standard scene selection and set up features, as well as some extras. Director Nelson McCormick, screenwriter J.S. Cardone and actress Brittany Snow are on hand to provide a running Audio Commentary. A Bonus View Picture-in-Picture Storyboard Track is also provided (requires a Profile 1.1 player). PROM NIGHT is also BD-Live enabled (requires a Profile 2.0 player). Featurettes include A Night To Remember: The Making Of Prom Night (eight minutes), Profile Of A Killer (six minutes), Gothic Spaces: Creating The Pacific Grand Hotel (six minutes) and Prom Night Photo Album: Real Prom Stories From The Cast (seven minutes). Deleted Scenes including an Alternate Ending, plus a Gag Reel close out the extras.

As a horror movie fan, I had hoped for a lot more than PROM NIGHT delivered. On the plus side, the Blu-ray presentation looks terrific.

Please note that PROM NIGHT has been released on Blu-ray Disc in an Unrated Version that does not add any gratuitous nudity, gratuitous violence or gratuitous bloodletting- although this film really could have used a healthy dose of all three.



Prom Night (Unrated) [Blu-ray] (2008)


DVD & Blu-rayDisc reviews are Copyright © 2008 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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