So, remember when I said that Prom Night 3: The Last Kiss seemed pretty tame? No onscreen carnage, very little language, and a general lack of sex? Well, I looked it up on the trusty ol' IMDB, only to discover that what I had seen was apparently an editted-for-cable version. Because, you know, when a fan of horror movies is sitting at home, he'd much rather watch a watered-down version of a campy slasher comedy than the actual movie he expected. SHEESH!
With that in mind, I decided to watch Prom Night IV: Deliver Us From Evil, the second movie on the Prom Night DVD Netflix sent me.. No ghost/demon girls, no Colin Farrell look-alikes, and (thankfully) almost no humor. This was a straight up, old-school, unapologetic slasher film. I loved it.
The opening scene ties this movie to the previous three: It takes place at the same prom that killed Mary Lou 2 movies ago, in the same school that the first 3 movies were set in. We meet a young couple who decide to duck out of the prom to, you know, do what teens do when they leave a prom early. Considering the place became an inferno later that night, I'd say they made a wise choice.
Sadly, a disturbed young man with a religious fetish disagrees. He murders them at their makeout spot, and is arrested. Cut to "today", and we meet 2 priests. One is retiring, and the other is going to be his replacement. His main responsibility? To keep the previously-seen murderer, Brother Jonas, from going apeshit ever again. They keep him locked away, strapped down, and heavily sedated, believing him to be possessed by an evil presence.
The young priest solemnly vows to keep the Jonas Brother(ha, bet you thought I was past the lousy puns after my Mary Lou gag last time, didn't ya?) sedated and confined, and basically says "Screw it" the minute the old codger leaves. He skips Jonas' first dose of happy juice, and tries talking to him, which goes about as well as you'd expect. Later he is knocked out, and Jonas escapes to kill again!
Well, not really. Jonas sticks around long enough to see the young priest make a phone call to his boss, THEN Jonas kills the guy and decides to paint the town red. Why wait? Eh, maybe the film needed some padding to make it feature-length. Anyway, Jonas decides to change his appearance, and settles on looking like that guy from C&C Music Factory. "Everybody dance now!" Seriously, has ANYONE in a movie ever been intimidating, when they wore their hair in a ponytail?
We then meet our 4 main characters: we have Meagan, our Final Girl(a very young-looking, and rather cute Nicole De Boer, the only person in the cast I recognized); Laura, her more-interesting and fun-loving best friend(seriously, why do slasher films always make the best friend so much more lively than the leading ladies? Halloween 4&5 had the same thing going on); and their boyfriends, Mark and Jeff. I know, I know, why such a low body count? But if you count the young priest, the young couple in the first scene, and the trucker who gives a hitchhiking Jonas Brother a ride, it's not really that bad. Plus, we also get a young doofus who is Mark's younger(supposedly, but they looked about the same age to me) brother, Jonathan. So, yeah, about 9-10 victims overall, by closing credits. Not too shabby,
While meeting our "heroes", there's plenty of swearing, so I'm fairly certain this movie wasn't cut in any major way. Oh, and there's some quick lesbianism. I thought maybe the scene was put in as a jokey reference to the infamous shower scene in the second movie, but I could be wrong.
They ditch the prom because the guys had planned a night of partying at an abandoned seminary that had been converted into a summer home. See, I haven't even described most of the deaths yet, and already this movie has more logic, plot and atmosphere. Anyway, the teens freak out when they discover that the party they had set up has been stolen/vandalized by our resident psycho, Jonas Brother. But, since their party would be just as illegal, they quickly decide to keep the theft and vandalism to themselves. Wusses.
There's an odd thing in the film where the Meagan character is barefoot. Now, supposedly they were just ditching their prom, so where the heck did her shoes go? Plus after she breaks a wine bottle and cuts her foot on the glass, why didn't she put shoes or something on at that point? There's a scene late in the movie where the Mad Monk is able to track her because of the bloody footprints. I dunno, if I was in pain from a massive shard of glass that had been imbedded in my foot, I'd find some damned shoes. Fast!
Now, we come to the part of the movie that sets it apart from last week's relatively tame Prom Night 3...nudity. Thank you, movie. The cute friend, Laura, has an equally cute butt, as it turns out. Yay! Sadly, she is waaaaay too quickly dispatched. Her friends think she's just had a tiff with her boyfriend, and decide to search for her.
Laura's boyfriend is the next to go. Now here is where the movie does something nasty. Brother Jonas already killed Laura-with-the-nice-butt and her boyfriend, right? Well, he takes their corpses and NAILS THEM BOTH TO CROSSES. Overkill much? But wait, it gets better: as Meagan and her boyfriend watch, the Jonas Brother lights the dead, crucified bodies on fire. Seriously, how much more dead do they need to be? Still, it's a pretty effective scene. In fact, the whole film is filmed well, with some very effective, moody scenes. There was one scene earlier, involving a flickering candle and a wine cellar that had me somewhat uneasy, what with all the shadows jumping around and all.
Anyway, Meagan's boyfriend is picked off very easily at this point, and Meagan becomes a ripoff of that '80's movie about the hooker who goes vigilante, Angel.(remember THAT franchise? No? Well, I do...) She finds a gun and a box of ammunition, and locks 'n' loads. Kinda cool, in a cheesy b-movie way, until she wastes most of her bullets missing the guy. Eventually he DOES die, because the cavalry arrives. The movie then ends like the 3rd one, on a cliffhanger that will likely never be resolved. Brother Jonas opens his eyes and appears to die, followed by Meagan, in a different rescue vehicle opening HER eyes.
Is she now possessed? Did she just sense his death? Who knows? The ambulances drive away during the start of the closing credits, giving me hope that there might be another scene to resolve this, but alas, it's just THE END.
So, there you have it: a more traditional slasher film that nicely book-ends the series and makes up for the tame edits in the previous sequel. 3 out of 5 trees for this one. Bonus points for making me forget about the dull, toothless remake of the original PN from a few years ago. Not sure yet what next week's slasher film will be: I was hoping to do The Eye 3, but a) it's a ghost story, not really slashery in the parts I saw, and b) I fell asleep waiting for the Netflix Instant thingy to reload it after it said my online signal slowed it down. I guess that's why you don't start a movie at 11 p.m.
Eh, whatever. See ya next week!