SPOILER ALERT: In order to discuss the racial angle of this movie, certain spoilers may be revealed. Consider yourself warned, although really, it’s not like this is The Sixth Sense or something.
From Carrie to Prom Night to Dance of the Dead, horror movie proms have been turning into bloodbaths for decades, but few, if any, fright flicks have dared explore the horrific potential of the limo ride to prom…and frankly, with good reason, because it’s a pretty silly, narrowly delineated concept. What’s next? Corsage: The Prickening?
But hey, I suppose it’s impressive that Prom Ride finds a way to have practically an entire movie set inside a limo (granted, a Hummer limo), basically using it as a surrogate for the typical enclosed horror setting (a cabin in the woods, an abandoned insane asylum, a Trump rally, etc.).
The limited story goes like this: eight friends — including black couple Sienne (Joi Liaye) and Wale (Byron Thomas) — are living it up in their limo on the way to prom (the less said about the pre-prom plot, which includes a FULL-ON MUSICAL NUMBER, the better) when their vehicle is run off the road. Their driver (poor Omar Gooding, although as a producer, he does it to himself) gets out to investigate and falls against the window outside, killed by an unseen individual.
The mirror-masked killer then takes control of the limo and forces the teens to degrade themselves in a variety of ways, revealing secrets that turn them against one another until the truth finally comes out: the killer was the driver all along. He pretended to die to throw them off and is actually in cahoots with Sienne, who orchestrated this all just to get back at Wale for cheating on her with one of the other girls in the limo. Overkill much?
(Heather Paige Cohn meanwhile appears as Alejandra, the surprise same-sex date of one of the girls in the group, and serves basically to provide the requisite horror movie T&A.)
Prom Ride is basically a poor man’s Saw on wheels, with mental torture replacing physical — including the pain inflicted on viewers having to sit through the endless bickering, sniveling and…slow dancing? — but at least it’s refreshing to have a couple of black masterminds in a non-all-black horror film for a change. (Granted, it necessitated a black producer, director and writer for this to occur.)