Curse of Lizzie Borden II: Prom Night (2008)

Why?!Reviewed by The Foywonder

Starring Kate Reavis, Randal Malone, Roxy Darr, Jeanine Orci, Nicola Graham, Monte Hunter

Directed by Eric Swelstad

You asked for it! You pushed for it! You begged for it! You sent the emails! You signed the petitions! Finally! At long last! Because you, the fans, demanded it… the sequel to “>The Curse of Lizzie Borden (review) you all wanted! And thanks to all your cards and letters, it’s a director’s cut too!

All joking aside, I have no earthly clue why The Curse of Lizzie Borden II: Prom Night exists. I have no idea who the audience for a movie like this is supposed to be other than the morbidly curious like myself, the very reason I rank amongst the select few who actually saw the first film. Then again, as I often tell myself in a case like this, I live in a world where there have been 13 Witchcraft movies so I suppose the existence of this sequel isn’t impossible to fathom.

I’m going to assume the overwhelming majority of you reading this have never seen The Curse of Lizzie Borden and only some of you have read my review of it. To quickly recap, college girl Cassie is in a class learning about the legend of Lizzie Borden, the young woman who supposedly axe murdered her family in 1892 and is immortalized in a famous nursery rhyme. Her class went on a field trip to a nearby Lizzie Borden museum where Cassie ended up getting possessed by the wrathful spirit of Lizzie Borden. Multiple axe murders followed. The movie was so low budget most of it was set at the museum (actually the extravagant home of co-star Randal Malone) and even then the majority of the action took place in the backyard. The Curse of Lizzie Borden was a movie that gave backyard filmmaking a whole new meaning.

This 2008 sequel picks up five years after the 2006 original; figure that one out on your own time. Much has changed in the world of young Cassie, not the least of which being that she’s now played by a different actress. Cassie is locked up in a loony bin haunted by flashback scenes from the first film that go to painstaking lengths to ensure we don’t see the face of the actress who originally played Cassie, as well as being haunted visions of previous victims painted up in ghostly white face. These ghosts gave me flashbacks to that day in high school when a bunch of people painted their faces deathly white as a way to convey the dangers of drunk driving.

Randal Malone returns as the murdered museum owner’s spirit, as does his house and its backyard with that fruit tree I so loved. I’m guessing it was a package deal. Malone’s job is to periodically yell at Cassie to fight Lizzie Borden’s spirit before it fully overtakes her even though by this point Cassie and Lizzie already seem pretty much one in the same. Really unnecessary character, but, again, I’m guessing he came with the house rental. I’ll give Malone points for his ability to cackle with the best of them.

Once again cinema will teach us that the easiest way for a homicidal maniac to escape an insane asylum is to simply kill someone, put on their hospital clothes, and walk right out the front door with ease.

Cassie/Lizzie ventures back to the museum where she’ll promptly seduce and then kill the realtor. There’s virtually no motivation for anything she does other than the fact she’s a crazy psycho bitch. For the spirit of a murderer who professes her innocence she sure does kill an awful lot of innocent people.

When you watch a movie this poor you often struggle to find any positives. One of the very few positives here is Kate Reavis, the new Cassie/Lizzie. Cute girl, can twirl an axe like a majorette, not a bad little actress either. At least she’s better than most of the people she’s working with. Reavis’ turn as the temperamental murderess had me thinking from time to time I was watching a psychopathic, axe-swinging Amy Adams.

The very next day she’ll nearly get rundown by a woman who turns out to be a college professor currently teaching her students about (What else?) Lizzie Borden. Because Cassie/Lizzie, now calling herself Karen, claims to be a “Lizzie Borden enthusiast” and because the college professor is a lipstick lesbian who clearly fancies the young woman, guess who gets invited to attend the mock trial he class is conducting to determine the true guilt or innocence of Lizzie Borden?

When Cassie/Lizzie/Karen doesn’t like what certain classmates have to say about Lizzie Borden during this debate she’ll explode with rage. Her outbursts will merely get her labeled a little weird, but still aren’t considered alarming enough for them to turn down her invitation to tour the Lizzie Borden museum. One young male student will even set about to score with the girl who takes to dressing like Lizzie Borden and screaming bloody murder whenever someone accuses Lizzie Borden of committing bloody murder. Multiple axe murders follow.

I will say this sequel is better than its predecessor if only because it actually had a bit more going on. Not much more, but there wasn’t nearly as much dead air as the first time around. That doesn’t mean there weren’t plenty of moments where things dragged on I was dared to hit fast forward. It also doesn’t mean that the movie is any damn good – bad material and total amateur hour filmmaking.

A prime example, the illusion of seeing someone murdered by having a large shovel impaled into their skull goes away when the director chooses to include a close-up shot of the prop shovel being lifted up from the wound so that we can all see front and center how the shovel’s blade had been cut down and contoured to the victim’s head wound. How that shot made the final cut is beyond me. Also keep an eye out during the closing axe fight and you’ll clearly see the camera crane’s shadow in the shot.

I wasn’t aware that colleges held proms. That’s because they don’t. The explanation we get is that they’re throwing an “anti-prom” that ends up just looking like a cheap prom setting. It doesn’t make much sense to me either. This prom exists solely to give characters someplace else to be when they get a disturbing phone that’ll lead them all back to the Lizzie Borden museum where Cassie/Lizzie/Karen will start axe murdering them in the backyard. The Curse of Lizzie Borden II: Prom Night marks the second slasher movie of 2008 with the words “Prom Night” in the title that doesn’t actually have a single killing occur at the prom itself.

1 1/2 out of 5

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