Prom Night

1980

Prom Night

Critics Consensus

Prom Night is an uneven slasher with a memorable Jamie Lee Curtis performance.

45%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 20

35%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 20,097
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Movie Info

A conventional horror film with several jolting moments, Prom Night features Jamie Lee Curtis in one of her last "scream queen" roles before she branched out from the genre. Curtis was one of four children who terrifyingly forced a ten-year-old girl to fall out of a window to her death. Six years later, the four are at their high-school prom when an unknown killer starts to take revenge for the murder they committed. As each of the four is gruesomely dispatched, suspense mounts over whether the killer will be caught before all the teens are axed into oblivion.

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Critic Reviews for Prom Night

All Critics (20) | Top Critics (4) | Fresh (9) | Rotten (11)

  • Director Paul Lynch seems to capture the spirit of the genre here, but spends a little too much time setting up each murder, thus eliminating some suspense.

    Apr 10, 2008 | Full Review…

    Variety Staff

    Variety
    Top Critic
  • If you forget motivation, the visual trick-or-treat of slow revenge is entertaining enough.

    Jun 24, 2006 | Full Review…
    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • Why do people go to these movies?

    Oct 23, 2004 | Rating: 0.5/4
  • Because it's quite easy to figure out the killer's identity by simply keeping track of who is off screen a lot, much of the movie is just vamping for time.

    Aug 30, 2004 | Rating: 2/5
  • "Love me till I die", runs the chorus of the film's climactic song, all at once danse macabre and memento mori, as the youthful promise of these writhing bodies is cut tragically short by someone who knows what they did six summers ago.

    Oct 31, 2018 | Full Review…
  • As I came to the movie for the first time in a very recent marathon of classic horror pictures, I was baffled, aghast and left overcome with insurmountable eye-rolls. But I was never bored.

    Oct 7, 2016 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Prom Night

  • Nov 02, 2018
    I don't think prom has ever been as big a deal where I live as it seems to be in the United States, or, at least, how the movies make them out to be. I don't think there's that stigma here that going to prom, for the outcasts, is something that's cool to avoid. At least the school I went to, we were a smaller group than what you see in the U.S, where it's like 200 students per senior class. In my case, and in the case of almost every grade, there were just two classes with, at the most, 30 students in each class. Not to suggest that we were all friends, because we weren't, and I can remember ONE person being really fucking annoying about wanting as many tickets for her family to attend the prom as she could get. Actually, that one person was really the most annoying person I ever went to school with and, even then, I don't think we took any classes together. That's neither here nor there, I suppose. But, again, the point is that there's not that stigma about not going because it's not cool. Personally, I enjoyed it because I got to spend time with my friends and we got to have fun. Bringing us to this movie, however, is an interesting time capsule, given that this movie, released in 1980, is still very much 70s inspired with the disco music and the disco-themed prom. This was just before the 80s took whatever shape it was gonna take with the neon and the synth and the pop music. So it's an interesting movie to watch because of that, it's the last remnants of the 70s, before the 80s really took over. I remember seeing this movie for $5 at Walmart one time and I thought about buying it. It's $5, what's the worst that could happen, right? Now that I have watched the movie, however, I'm glad that I didn't spend the money on it because, let me tell you, this movie is a little bit disappointing. It doesn't help that I watched Carrie last year, which was a fucking GREAT horror movie, and it's got some similarities. The big prom night climax being among them and the lead bitch (along with her dimwitted "boyfriend") also attempting to play a prank on our heroines that coincides with prom. Blah, blah, blah. The thing about Carrie, though, is that Carrie herself is a fascinating character and the movie does an excellent job at building her up to be this ostracized and, unfairly, maligned individual. Carrie is a person that just wants to belong, she just wants to be normal and, at every turn, the assholes at school and even her own mother constantly torture her. This movie, naturally, doesn't have a central character that's even 10% as interesting as Carrie was. The problem with the movie is the fact that it focuses on this mystery as to who is the masked killer that's coming after the teens that caused the death of this young girl, a death that they then kept hidden, six years prior to the events of prom. The problem comes in the fact that you immediately know who the masked killer is. They establish four different people as the potential killer, Kim, Alex (Robin's siblings), Mr. Hammond and Vi (Robin's parents). But, again, there was never any doubt in my mind that it was the person that it ended up being. So that makes the reveal incredibly unsatisfying because, again, you know who it is from the start. It doesn't take great perception, you just needed to have watched more than one movie in your life to immediately come to the same conclusion. If, perhaps, there was a little more intrigue behind who was responsible then, maybe, the rest of the movie prior to the prom night massacre would not have been such a slog to get through. And, really, that's the biggest problem, these characters are just so fucking boring to make it exciting to watch their boring lives leading up until prom. Because, essentially, that's all this is. It's like The Secret Life of the American Teenager except it's got some horror at the end there. It's the lead-up to and preparation of the prom itself. Kim and Wendy, the lead bitch, feud over Nick, who was one of those responsible for Robin's death, and I honestly could not have cared less about any of this. I suppose I should applaud the movie for trying to give its characters some personality, but that doesn't mean that any of their attempts to do so are any good. There's also this insanely pointless subplot of this, supposed, institutionalized sex offender that, surprise surprise, escapes and, surprise surprise, is feared to be heading to town in order to kill some teens. If that sounds familiar to you then it should because, essentially, it's the same plot of OG Halloween. That's not the point, however, the point is that some cop believes this sex offender to be responsible for Robin's death despite there being literally no evidence tying him to the crime whatsoever. He's the one responsible because the cop says he's the one responsible, damnit. It's the most obvious red herring in the history of horror. I'm certain they were trying to plant the seeds of doubt in your mind that, maybe, it's this guy. But, again, it's so obviously a red herring that, I don't think, even in the really early 80s, that people thought it was actually this escaped sex offender. I feel like the movie wastes so much more time than they need to by focusing on this pointless and unnecessary red herring. It's not like it amounts to much in the long run anyway, but it's still more than what was necessary. There's also some incredibly cringeworthy moments, like Kim and Nick's elaborate dance at prom to fuck with Wendy. I'm sure that, at the time, it was a cool, hip and happening scene, but it just has not aged well in the slightest. Major cringe all around. The horror itself is no great shakes either. Wendy takes SEVEN minutes to actually hunt down and kill, I feel like that's way too long of time to waste on one character and, ultimately, the death isn't even that satisfying. And then, because they wasted that much time, I feel like they have to rush through the rest of what is left of the movie. There's also one unintentionally hilarious moment. Kim and Nick are trying to escape, after Lou was beheaded. The killer jumps out at them, but his jump is a little too short, as the exit is still widely available for Kim and Nick to go through. Kim and Nick stop dead in their tracks before the killer moves a little bit to his right in order to, now, be in front of the only exit. It's such a small thing, but it all adds up. Like just look at that scene and tell me how this actually made the final cut??? Kim and Nick COULD have still gone through the exit, but they just stopped and waited for the villain to jump in front of the exit. It's actually really fucking stupid. This movie is much, much worse than I was expecting. Look, I wasn't expecting this to be an all-time classic, that would have been unrealistic, but this is still goes below the lowered standards that I already had. I got through it fine and there's, technically, worse movies out there. But not only is a slog to get through, its horror is bland, the story is predictable from the start and it's got unnecessary red herrings up the ass. There's very little that I liked about this movie. Jamie Lee Curtis is good, but she definitely deserved better than this. I honestly think that two stars is too high for what I felt for this movie, but 1.5 also feels too low. It's somewhere in between those two ratings, like 1.75. That score represents my thoughts more accurately, but since there's no quarter ratings, then 1.5 stars it is then. This is just a bad movie, it really is. It misses the boat on, pretty much, everything. When you have Carrie and Prom Night both on Prime, why the fuck would you go with the latter when you have the former??? I should have followed my own advice, even if I DID watch Carrie last week.
    Jesse O Super Reviewer
  • Nov 08, 2017
    A messy mix of Carrie, Saturday Night Fever and Halloween that takes too long to get where it is going (being even interrupted by a laughably intrusive disco dance scene), and so by the time things start to happen, there is very little tension left, even though I do like the ending.
    Carlos M Super Reviewer
  • Dec 10, 2013
    It is understandable that this film garnered a cult following, despite it's cult status, I believe the film was overrated. I'd still give it credit for being an early slasher film though. The story centred around 4 kids who accidentally caused the death of one of their friends when they were still kids, now a killer began killing each one of them on the prom night to avenge the girl. There wasn't much to watch out for, Jamie Lee Curtis was surprisingly a good dancer! The chasing scene of one of the girls with the killer was entertaining. Overall, the film bored its audience for 50 minutes before anything actually happened.
    Sylvester K Super Reviewer
  • Oct 25, 2012
    Oh, it's just awful! So bad it might even be hilarious.
    Jason 123 D Super Reviewer

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