My wife and I actually managed to get the kids to bed two Friday nights in a row and decided to wind down after a long week by watching another late night horror film.
When I picked out the 1981 film The Prowler a week or so before, I had never heard of it before and wasn’t really sure what to expect from it. In fact, from the description on Netflix, I figured it would be just like every other 80s slasher movie I have ever watched; lots of blood and guts and not much in terms of overall scares or plot.
However, after watching it, I do have to say this movie was definitely worth our time.
The movie starts out talking about a World War II soldier who is sent a Dear John letter from his sweetheart. Shortly after, during the night of a graduation dance (we thought it was a high school at first but it was really a college), the woman, Rosemary, and her new man are brutally killed.
The movie then fast-forwards 35 years, to 1980. The college is still there and, after years of having the graduation dance banned by the father of the slain woman, the students decide to resurrect it. Predictably, just as the dance is starting, a mysterious prowler shows up dressed in World War II attire and begins killing the students one by one.
Truth be told, there really isn’t much that sets this movie apart from dozens of others like it. You had the same over-the-top violence, a couple gratuitous nude shots (mostly from a shower scene that will remind you of the one in Psycho) and no answers as to exactly why the killer, who up until this point only murdered the woman who wronged him, suddenly decides he should slaughter people who weren’t even alive when that happened.
In fact, it really didn’t take a lot of detective work to figure out who the killer is; after all, there are only so many actors and actresses and only a couple that were even old enough to be the killer.
However, unlike many movies of this nature, this one managed to do something that very few do; it kept me on the edge of my seat. Half the time, or actually, most of the time, movies like this focus too much on the death and violence and really don’t make an effort to set up any sort of suspense. The writers of this movie did a great job with the build up so, in any given situation, you didn’t know if the Prowler would pop out from behind a tree or door or if they would walk away without incident. Stuff like that keeps the movie interesting from start to finish and many movie writers should pay attention to this film.
Final opinion: If you don’t normally like watching slasher flicks, this is probably a movie you won’t enjoy. But, if you are a fan of the genre like I am, this is a movie that is worth watching at least once.
Average Netflix Grade: 3 stars out of a possible 5.
My Grade: 3 stars.