Monday, November 13, 2017

You Can't Have Prom Without the Prom Ride

I recently listened to an interview with horror producer extraordinaire Jason Blum, he behind what virtually amounts to every studio horror hit of the last ten years (among them the Paranormal Activity franchise, Insidious, The Purge world, and Get Out, to name a few). I bring this up because one of the questions he was asked speaks heartily to today's film: is there still room for found footage in the horror genre?

Blum's immediate answer was a hearty no, followed by a little more explanation. In summary, he said (and I agree) that the only time to employ the dreaded double F style is if the movie absolutely requires it to the extent that it only makes sense AS a movie if it's done that way. 

Prom Ride, a very low budget but not terrible little horror film, does not understand this in the least.

Quick Plot: In the weeks leading up to prom, a bunch of attractive young people buy their dresses, play fart pranks on each other, and stage elaborately choreographed dance invitations, just as kids today apparently do. When the big night finally comes, Alejandra's parents treat their daughter and her seven pals to a souped up hummer limo. 

Before you can say Hello Mary Lou, the vehicle gets run off the road as their pleasant chauffeur (thus far the only tolerable character in the film) is murdered just outside the car windows. Cue a LOT of screaming, followed by an almost Jigsaw-esque game of torture with the teens as participants. 

It is as positively delightful as it sounds.

Written and directed by newbie Kazeem Molake, Prom Ride is clearly a beginner's movie. On one hand, it has some ideas and shows potential skill; on the other, it's pretty impossible to fathom how any viewer could possibly enjoy what happens onscreen. 

Look, I'm the token oddball who was charmed by the VERY elaborate dance number and way the filmmaker decided to superimpose handmade graphics over the screen to simulate video camera footage. I'm the same token oddball who can make a case for the young actors not being terrible, but just being forced to say terrible lines. And hey, the prom dresses were kind of cute.

So in summary, if you have a choice of watching Prom Ride or staring at your shoes, I'd say go for the movie. If your choices broaden to include youtube tutorials on how to do prom hair, reconsider.

High Points
As someone terrified of all things high heeled, I can appreciate a good gouging via stiletto

Low Points
Guys, it's 2017, and we've now had a full decade of found footage as the de facto style in low budget horror (remember the innocent aughts when it was all Saw ripoffs about imperfect strangers waking up in torture rooms? Sigh). Sometimes, it's a gimmick that makes sense to the action or can be justified for the film's overall tone. In the case of Prom Ride, a film that never claims to be composed of found footage, why, good god WHY, would Molake randomly stage shots as if they were recorded via phone or security camera? It does absolutely nothing for the action but makes it incomprehensible

Lessons Learned
Don't be fooled: it is indeed possible to do a sit-up with your eyes closed

A proper prom proposal should require at least four weeks of intense dance practice and intermediate choreography

When half your teenage friends order virgin cocktails, you shouldn't be surprised when the waiter asks for your ID upon ordering an alcoholic beverage

The (Losing) Line
Character 1: That would suck balls.
Character 2: That's what she said!
All Characters: (uproarious laughter)

I don't think anyone not related to the cast or crew will actually enjoy the experience of watching Prom Ride, but as I so often say in these corners, it's far from the worst thing you'll find streaming on Amazon Prime. 

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