Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Prom Night IV: Deliver Us From Evil (1992)

The only thing consistent with the Prom Night series is how inconsistent the films are. The first film, with its standard slasher storyline and horrendous disco music is nonetheless still a fun film to watch. Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II completely discarded the first Prom Night’s story and introduced us to Mary Lou Maloney, a malevolent ghost that comes back to claim her prom queen crown. The third installment, Prom Night III: The Last Kiss, continued with a new Mary Lou story, but Prom Night IV: Deliver Us From Evil yet again ditches the previous storylines.

Prom Night IV: Deliver Us From Evil is about Father Jonas, a possessed, homicidal priest that kills two horny teenagers on prom night in 1957 (the same night Mary Lou was accidentally killed at the prom). The Catholic Church locks him in the basement of a church and keeps him sedated so he can do no more harm. In 1991 a new, young priest is put in charge of Jonas. Thinking he can help the homicidal maniac, he stops administering his meds and even gives him a nice, close shave. Jonas wakes up and busts outta the church, looking for more promiscuous teens to kill and “save.”

Lucky for Jonas, it is prom night! Two couples are getting ready for the big night (complete with a funny lesbian interlude), but instead of going to prom they decide to ditch it and spend the weekend at one of their parent’s weekend getaway houses. Problem is, the house used to be Father Jonas’ seminary home and he’s on his way back there also! Can the four horny teens survive the Father’s wrath?

Prom Night IV: Deliver Us From Evil isn’t a slasher masterpiece, but I was surprised at how much I actually enjoyed it. The acting was alright, the characters didn’t get on my nerves and the villain was fun to watch! Of course, there wasn’t that much gore to speak of, there were more than a few inconsistencies and plot holes as well. For example, if it was prom, why was it snowing?? And, of course, there was the problem of Father Jonas not aging a day since he was imprisoned by the Church. Maybe years of solitary confinement are the solution for younger looking skin!

The characters were all very fun to watch. The innocent Meagan (Nikki de Boer) played well against the “experienced” Laura (Joy Tanner). The male characters weren’t as developed, but they did okay as well. It was surprising that there were no annoying characters to root for to die, which I thought was a nice change from your standard slasher fare. The villain of Father Jonas (James Carver) wasn’t necessarily scary, but he was very intense and did well in his role.

The kills really weren’t that interesting or memorable, but I did enjoy how slowly and methodically Father Jonas stalked the characters. On the downside, the film took about 45 minutes before the teens started getting knocked off. There are a few kills beforehand, but by the time the first teen “disappeared,” I was getting antsy. With just four people in an isolated house to kill, things did get a little slow.

Despite its problems, though, Prom Night IV: Deliver Us From Evil is a decidedly fun, underrated slasher film. I’m not sure why the filmmakers decided to affiliate it with the Prom Night series because it would have done much better as a stand-alone film. Nonetheless, you shouldn’t let dreaded “sequel-itis” stop you from checking out Prom Night IV.

Available from Amazon!

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