Directed by Bruce Pittman [Other horror films: Mark of Cain (1986)]
Nothing at all in tone or style like the first Prom Night, Hello Mary Lou drops the slasher aspect of the classic 1980 film and instead adopts a possession story, which actually works well to the film’s benefit.
If you’re a fan of 80’s flicks in general, I can’t see how this film would disappoint you. The story, while not overly original, is still pretty fun. Decent special effects, and even a good atmosphere at times. First, though, let’s talk about the actors and actresses, who do quite a bit to boost enjoyment in this film.
There are a hell of a lot of solid performances here. Michael Ironside doesn’t disappoint as the principle with a dark past. An early performance by Louis Ferreira is probably more enjoyable than it should be. Brock Simpson (who actually not only had a small role in the first movie, but has appeared in all four Prom Night films, each time playing a different character) does pretty well as a rather spaced-out and, shall we say unique, high school student. Always a pleasure when he came on screen.
The two best performances, though, go to the star, Wendy Lyon, and though with only a few appearances, Beth Gondek. Lyon did commendable throughout, and really got the most of her role as she could. She had a lot of heart, and really helped make the film more fun. Gondek, despite being a bit of a no one (including this film, she has a total of seven credits on IMDb), really stole the few scenes she was in. There’s a rather emotional portion when she’s talking to Lyon, and I’ll be damned if I didn’t buy every word. I really wish she got more screen-time than she did, as she did amazing.
Special effects throughout were generally pretty good. The rocking horse was a bit odd, and there was a dodgy-looking electrocution toward the end, but the blackboard scene was pretty cool, as was a mirror sequence. There was some legitimate suspense during the locker room scene, and it ended in a decently gory way. That said, gore wasn’t a strong point here, but the deaths we do get all end up fun regardless.
At times, the film sort of felt like the fourth A Nightmare on Elm Street, albeit a bit more tepid. Lyon, all out of sorts after the death of a friend, keeps having visions while at school, and some of them are even decently creepy. There’s a good atmosphere during those sequences also.
And if none of this grabs you, if you hold on long enough, there’s some solid nudity nearing the end of the flick.
Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II is a lot of fun, certainly funner than the original. Solid performances, good story, and everything just seems to work out. It’s not perfect, of course – at times, I can’t pretend it doesn’t drag a little bit. And the ending, while sort of fun, in a cheesy way, doesn’t really do it for me. But overall, I really liked this when I first saw it some years back, and it still holds up. Definitely an 80’s horror flick I’d recommend checking out.
This is one of the films discussed on the Fight Evil show, so if interested, listen to Chucky (@ChuckyFE) and I talk about it a bit.