The New 'PROM NIGHT': Is 'Remake' the Right Word?

It has the same title as the early-80s Jamie Lee Curtis slasher, but that may be just about all they have in common. has posted the trailer to the upcoming Screen Gems suspense flick Prom Night, and, according to CHUD's JEREMY SMITH, it's pretty much what one would expect from a PG-13 slasher remake co-produced by Neal Moritz (I Know What You Did Last Summer): "a little glitz, a little sex and not a whole lot of blood."

What? A PG-13 slasher with no blood? Well, yes and no. Prom Night is technically a remake of Paul Lynch's early 80s genre pic that starred Jamie Lee Curtis, Jeff Wincott and Leslie Nielsen. But you should expect this Prom Night to emphasize the chills rather than the gore, because, as Cinematical's SCOTT WEINBERG noted, it "looks like director Nelson McCormick and screenwriter J.S. Cardone just wanted to use the title."

In fact, TV vet McCormick (Alias, Prison Break) will even tell you that, as he did Shocktilyoudrop's RYAN ROTTEN: "This a cross of a genre film with a cop film. There is a killer on the loose - the manhunt for him and stopping him before he kills again kind of thing. So you've got evidence of films like Seven and Silence of the Lambs mixed with the traditional teens-in-distress movie."

Scripter Cardone (The Covenant) even compared his update to such classic mysteries as Klute. "Our movie has the murders and then the police investigation--which slasher films have not used in the past."

So, while the original had the two converging storylines of Prom Queen Curtis and the Killer, the new version has a narrower focus.

(If you're really jazzed about this movie and want your theater experience to be full of surprises, close your eyes now, and I'll nudge you when the spoilers are past.)

Prom Night (redux) centers on "good girl" teen Donna Keppel (Brittany Snow), who becomes the object of a Lolita-esque obsession developed by her Ted Bundy-inspired teacher, Richard Fenton (Johnathan Schaech). During Donna's sophomore year of high school, Fenton murders her entire family before taking up residence at a four-star loony bin. The bulk of the picture takes place when Donna is a senior...and Fenton is on the loose once again.

Schaech (That Thing You Do!) compared his character to the Phantom of the Opera. "He's madly in love. All of these people get in the way and he keeps putting them in nifty little places where no one will find them."

(Okay, spoiler-phobes can come back in.)

Cardone championed Schaech for the role, having worked with him on the vampire flick, The Forsaken. "He understands my material and he has a truly dark edge. I sincerely think that this will bring him attention."

The actor certainly put his all into the role, and had the injuries to prove it--especially after working with 21-year-old Snow. When the Nip/Tuck veteran found herself in danger of losing her PJs (and flashing the camera) during a fight scene, she suddenly kicked at Schaech...and got him right in the nose.

"Then all of a sudden he goes 'Ow,' and he starts tearing up, looks at me and leaves," recalled Snow abashedly. But the mishap still fits into her theory about females and horror films. "Girls want to see girls be in terrible situations and then kick some major ass."

As long as they kick ass without breaking skin, at least for the theatrical release. Screen Gems scored a $21 mil opening for its teen-friendly 2006 remake of When A Stranger Calls, so Prom Night director McCormick knew he'd have to find ways around the graphic violence.

But he chose to embrace it as a creative challenge. "It forced me to think of designing the scares and kills in a way that had you imagine the rest. I think that's more elegant filmmaking."

It was McCormick's vision for the film that convinced Snow to get involved. "It wasn't going to be a stereotypical horror movie where the teenage girl is running around, takes a shower for no reason and starts having sex with this guy. It's something that actually could happen and does happen. So I kind of thought that this was the type of film that I was going to do if I was going to do a horror film."

The new Prom Night opens nationwide on April 11th.
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