Film

High school slasher flick recycles genre traditions

2 out of 5 stars
“Prom Night”
Screen Gems

When seeing “Prom Night” amid a swarm of 13 to 15-year-olds (prime meat for any slasher film), it feels good to be a little older. Teens freaking over soundtrack string-pulls and prom dress choices is what the filmmakers attempt to achieve.

In this remake of the 1980 Jamie Lee Curtis cult classic, a group of twentysomething “teens” are terrorized by one oblivious blonde’s ex-stalker on that magic high school evening. And it’s only slightly less painful than actually going to senior prom.

Ostensibly, this is one crappy horror flick. It’s yet another PG-13 remake guilty of the most hackneyed trappings of the genre. Dumb cops, dumber teens and one miraculous killer’s ability to never get noticed in tiny rooms are the standard elements of the film. But maybe that’s just the fun of it.

Of course we’ve all seen this before. That’s why if you think of “Prom Night” as an enjoyably repetitive drinking game, it’s not half bad (a perk of being older). Plus, the very notion of seeing Brittany Snow, the villainess from “Hairspray,” terrorized might be more than enough to amuse. This film would be great on a boring Saturday night.

BLAKE GOBLE

New children’s film uses standard plot devices and twists

1.5 out of 5 stars
“Nim’s Island”
Fox-Walden

“Nim’s Island” is less a children’s adventure story and more an exercise in extremely reckless parenting. A father (Gerard Butler, “300”) lives on a secret island with his daughter, Nim (Abigail Breslin, “Little Miss Sunshine”). Being the responsible father that he is, Dad goes on some sort of research mission leaving his daughter alone. Gee, wonder if something bad is going to happen? Nim is momentarily distracted by her dancing animal friends, but eventually gets around to noticing that maybe the heavy storm that wrecked her tree house may have had an effect on her father’s travels as well.

Thankfully, this island also comes equipped with Internet access, so Nim is able to ask her favorite action hero, Alex Rover, for help finding her dad. Unfortunately, Alex Rover is really Alexandra Rover (Jodie Foster, “The Brave One”), woman writer and closet agoraphobic. Nothing new here: Alex overcomes her fears, Nim is scared but resourceful and her dad is. saved by a really smart pelican? OK, so maybe the film’s plot has some original elements, but the actors can hardly be bothered to play into the fantastical nature of the story. Breslin is adorable as always, but Foster and Butler are just going through the motions. Just about the only interesting part of the film is watching Rover attempt to navigate the hell we call airport security. A neurotic, hand-sanitizer-obsessed writer or the people with guns — who wins? Now that’s a story worth telling.

ANNIE LEVENE

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