Let’s face it… There’s never going to be a better prom night related horror movie than, well, Prom Night. Ever. Still, there has been a handful of directors who have attempted to bring a touch of blood to a high schooler’s happiest day of the calendar year, and they can only hope to bring something new to the table in terms of content, especially when considering the produced film will never match the hype of the 1980 slasher classic. So, out of all the titles I could have watched on my day off, why did I pick Prom Ride? I have two reasons: it’s just that type of season and Prom Ride seems like a mixture of Prom Night, Saw and Joy Ride. Having watched it on demand, here are my comments.
Prom Ride is written and directed by Kazeem Molake, a former segment producer on multiple truTV shows. Cast members appearing in this title include Noah Nevins (Tales of Halloween), Joi Liaye, Victoria Levine (Zombies vs. Strippers), Heather Paige Cohn, Ariella Rose, Byron Thomas, Deanna Pak, Joseph Rich and Omar Gooding (‘Barbershop,” “Hanging with Mr. Cooper”) as Vain. The film follows prom night for eight high school seniors, who planned to spend it in elegance, celebrating and getting drunk… that is until a psychotic serial killer hijacks their stretch limo and takes them on a wild ride they’ll never forget. The teens are systematically tortured while being held hostage in the limo and they turn on each other one by one while struggling for survival. As the blood starts flowing they’re left wondering who the bad guy really is.
Prom Ride starts with a good premise: eight kids trapped inside a stretch limo by a gun wielding psychopath. Much-like the Saw movies, he’s rigged the limo with mechanical devices that keep them strapped to their seat, strangled or otherwise maimed. Yeah, it’s basically Saw on wheels. Secrets are unraveled as their numbers dwindle and suspense reaches higher levels and I’ll gladly eat my cookies with wide eyes while absorbing those plot twists. The only problem here is that Prom Ride is severely flawed from a production standpoint. Let me start with the god awful singing and dancing scene near the beginning. Too much time was spent on a choreographed, badly dubbed, cheesy song and dance meant to be one of the boys’ prom invitation to his date. It was way too High School Musical. It was way too Sweet Valley High. It was just too silly and came out of no where and it started the movie off on a bad note… with me wanting the kids to die so they’d stop singing. That’s never a good sign. This is also a problem that plagues the entire movie. It’s not really all that scary, especially with the first half of the movie devoted to the partying in the limo. Where’s the horror?
Secondly, the camera quality was inconsistent and often teetering on amateur. It looks like upwards of four different cameras were used during principal photography, and all of them produced various grades of film quality. One scene looks perfect, the next is blurry as Hell. One scene is lit perfect, the next looks like it has a yellow filter. Now, this leads me to another consistency problem with Prom Ride… was it found footage or not? The point of view and style jumps back and forth between found footage – being shot by the kids in the limo – and traditional narrative film. You kind of have to pick one or another because someone like me is bound to call you out on it. In my opinion. Prom Ride would have been much better off as a traditional narrative, but I understand that the confines of the limo were probably to tight to allow certain actions to take place properly. Also, when it comes down to actuality and realism, other categories I’m a big stickler for, there were a couple bloopers.
Again, Prom Ride had an interesting and exciting concept and was well acted, except for when any of the girls had to cry. Decisions made behind the scenes really killed its overall quality and I’d mostly recommend it to bored teenagers looking for a “scary movie” to rent off of Red Box. It’s as average as you can get. Final Score: 4.5 out of 10.