Prom Night parents guide

Prom Night Parent Review

Overall D+

For Donna (Brittany Snow), Prom Night is a big deal. She's got the dress, booked the room at the fancy hotel where the event is being hosted, and has set her heart on an unforgettable evening. And that is what she gets all right -- after a serial killer also checks in for the big party.

Violence D+
Sexual Content C
Profanity C
Substance Use C-

Prom Night is rated PG-13 for violence and terror, some sexual material, underage drinking, and language.

Movie Review

The setup for Prom Night is simple enough. Dress up a lot of 20-year-old actors (pretending to be high school seniors) in fancy clothes, put them in a swanky downtown hotel and then let a mentally unstable teacher loose in the place with a hunting knife. Sounds like the perfect way to end the school year?

NEW: Listen to our Parent Previews Podcast and take control of media and technology in your family!

For Donna Keppel (Brittany Snow) and her date Bobby (Scott Porter), it's hardly what they anticipated. Instead this was supposed to be the highlight of the year and a distraction from Donna's painful memories of the past. Arriving on the carpeted steps of the upper scale establishment, they, along with their high school friends, Claire (Jessica Stroup), Michael (Kelly Blats), Lisa (Dana Davis) and Ronnie (Collins Pennie), have booked a huge suite on a floor above the ballroom where their prom is being held and have plans for some post-party activities. But those are postponed when the partygoers begin disappearing one by one.

Meanwhile, at the police station, Detective Winn (Idris Elba) receives a fax about a jailbreak. Richard Fenton (Johnathon Schaech), a former high school teacher who murdered a family nearly three years ago, is a fugitive from the maximum-security prison where he was being held in the psychiatric ward. Though officials don't know his whereabouts, Winn is pretty sure he's headed back to Bridgeport to get the one remaining family member that escaped him---Donna Keppel.

From this point on the film is pretty standard fare with more gore than suspense. The only guessing game is who will be the next one to get his or her neck slashed. Fortunately (and entirely unrealistically), despite the killer's preference to hack his victims to death, there's a minimum of blood. Most of the action takes place off screen with no spreading pools of the red stuff to give away the dead's location.

However as the body count grows, so does the list of sexual innuendos, profanities and underage drinkers. Although one guest has his liquor confiscated at the door, others manage to conceal their flasks until they're inside the party. Another issue is the implied sexual activity planned by the teens following the crowning of the prom king and queen. Neither parents, guardians nor teachers appear concerned about the intended sleeping arrangements.

With plenty of darkened rooms and the mandatory jump scenes, this re-make of a 1980s film with the same name, ought to provide more suspense than it does. Instead, plot inconsistencies and catty exchanges between the prom royalty candidates make Prom Night one date parents will want their teens to turn down.

Starring Brittany Snow, Idris Elba, Jessica Stroup, Johnathon Schaech. Theatrical release April 10, 2008. Updated

Get details on profanity, sex and violence in Prom Night here.

Prom Night Parents Guide

The teens portrayed in this film as drinking and planning sexual activities are actually played by actors in their early and late twenties. Would the impact of their actions be viewed any differently if actual teens were used to play these characters?

What use do prescription medicines have in helping people deal with anxieties or emotional traumas? What, if any, drawbacks are there?

Should police or other law enforcement agencies disclose the names of criminals living in area to the residents of those communities? Even if the convict has served his or her time?