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The Poorly Rated 2000s Slasher Flick Defying Odds And Dominating Netflix

Some people use Netflix to explore thought-provoking documentaries. Some people use Netflix to watch fluffy romantic comedies (including the feel-good rom-com everyone's watching on Netflix right now.) And some people use Netflix to catch up on forgettable horror remakes from over a decade ago that received terrible reviews when they came out and remain widely loathed. Whatever gets you through the news.

Specifically, Netflix users have been tuning into 2008's Prom Night, a slasher movie about a high school student named Donna (Brittany Snow) whose teacher-stalker murders her entire family, then escapes from prison on the night of her prom to "reunite" with her. He also murders everyone who tries to stop him — or who accidentally stumbles across him. Oh, and Idris Elba plays a detective, a nice foreshadowing of his starring turn in the series Luther, which started two years later.

The movie was roundly trashed by critics and audiences alike when it premiered, although that didn't stop people asking Snow if she was planning to make a sequel. She is not, sorry to disappoint all three major Prom Night fans. Even more incredible, the 2008 version was actually a remake of another movie of the same name that received just as chilly a reception when it came out in 1980. This is the poorly rated 2000s slasher flick defying odds and dominating Netflix. Is it worth your time? The answer is a resounding "possibly."

Prom Night is a remake of a 1980 slasher movie

The ultimate prom gone wrong movie, Carrie, came out in 1976, possibly inspiring the release of the original version of Prom Night four years later (the untold truth of Stephen King is that he is the hidden force behind all horror movies). The plot of the original is a little different, although it still involves an obsessive murderer stalking students on prom night, because of course it does.

The set-up goes like this: Six years after four children accidentally caused the death of another kid — not knowing that there was a witness — the anniversary of the incident falls on the night of the now-teenagers' prom. One of the teens, Nick (Casey Stevens), is taking one of the victim's siblings, Kim (Jamie Lee Curtis), as his date. Throughout the night, three of the four teens are picked off, until the killer corners Kim and Nick, but only attacks the latter. Kim strikes them with an axe, only to realize it's her brother, the victim's twin and the unknown witness, and that she's killed her surviving sibling.

The movie was generally slaughtered by critics: The New York Times' Vincent Canby wrote that the audience at his screening booed at the end, and probably not because it was over. Some viewers felt that the advertisers were trying to capitalize on Curtis' relatively recent horror fame, which had been cemented with 1978's Halloween. She was featured prominently in ad campaigns, but less prominently in the actual movie.

For what it's worth, Prom Night currently has a critical rating of 48% and an audience rating of 35% on aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes. However, the movie was successful enough to spawn three sequels, none of which have any plot or character connections to the original, other than being set in the same high school.

Is 2008's Prom Night so bad it's good?

Not every horror movie has to be Carrie quality: sometimes a thin but believable plot, a few good scares and lots of blood are enough to satisfy a horror-loving audience's need for gratuitous gore. But the jury is out among current viewers over whether Prom Night meets even these low standards.

Reddit user will112187 wrote, "I enjoyed it. Was it groundbreaking, or highly memorable?.....no lol. Was it absolutely abysmal and a waste of time?....no. It's a fun lil popcorn flick to watch with friends." Other users recommend it for slasher fans, while other self-described slasher fans warned off it. Their main complaints are that every character makes decisions that are so poor that they make protagonists in other horror movies look like highly trained professional murder avoiders. Not to mention the fact that the PG-13 rating hampered the movie's ability to deliver the levels of violence and gore slasher fans demand from their movies. Actually, we just mentioned it, and with good reason. It's hard to be a proper slasher without the slashes.

If you've made it this far and are still intrigued enough to check out what all the recent buzz is about, chances are you're Prom Night's target audience. Next time you want a movie that's not too serious, lends itself to mocking, and won't give you nightmares, make a date with it. And don't feel too bad for Elba: He's the star of one of Netflix's most popular original movies of all time.