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Prom Night

TV-trained director Nelson McCormick and exploitation veteran J.S. Cardone's in-name-only remake of 1980's PROM NIGHT is a better-than-necessary reworking of 1980s slasher-movie conventions. Three years ago, high-school freshman Donna Keppel's (Brittany Snow) entire family was murdered by Richard Fenton (Johnathon Schaech), a teacher who developed a psychotic obsession with her. Now a senior living with her aunt and uncle (Jessalyn Gilsig, Linden Ashby), Donna has largely left the nightmares behind: She has a wonderful boyfriend (Scott Porter), a scholarship to Brown and a bright future. But her prom night -- which should be the best night of her high-school years -- turns into a nightmare when Fenton escapes the maximum-security mental hospital to which he was confined and comes looking for her. Formulaic to the core, this reworking of the fondly remembered high-school slasher picture works surprisingly well on its own terms: The imperiled kids don't behave like complete and total morons, the police arrive when they should and do all the right things, and the killer isn't superhuman -- he's a monster, but a human monster. Genre fans could do worse.