"Happiness dwells where Happiness dies" - the film's tagline
"Flee, hide, fight or scream, you can never escape from the Prom Queen" - Pam Ferris narrates the trailer
Prom Queen is a 2015 supernatural horror film directed by David Fincher and starring Sophie Turner, Ariel Winter, Zachary Gordon, Pam Ferris, Alex Pettyfer, Robert de Niro and Bill Paxton. It is a film based on the universally acclaimed novel of the same name by Stephen King, about a group of teenagers who try to write a horror movie at an abandoned school for a college project, but find themselves in the wrath of a malevolent ghost.
The film was released in cinemas in November 2015 and received near-universal acclaim, with praise for the film's balance of suspense and scares (Especially its prominent lack of jump-scares), musical score, production value and the unerringly realistic performances of Winter, Turner and Ferris. It was a box office triumph and has been immortalized as one of the best horror movies of the year. In addition, Prom Queen has gained a cult following.
The title sequence depicts brief, flashing scenes from a prom that, through unknown means, went terribly wrong (Falling corpses are shown), and eventually the montage ends overlooking an abandoned school, where a lone figure of a young woman in a green dress is at the window, looking at the audience.
Melody Blue is in class with a group of friends when a class project is called - they must make a horror film of their own, in groups, based around a location, treated as if it were an actual Hollywood movie - with production value, musical scores, convincing performances and scripts, etc. Ambitious and overachieving, Melody brings together a group of her best friends and plans to make a movie surrounding an abandoned school on the other side of their district, called Icevale High School. The film she plans to make, entitled Prom Queen, surrounds a girl whose prom becomes haunted by a serial killer, with Melody herself playing the title role. She and her friends pack and leave home to sleep at the school so they can do the film in its entirety.
En route, Melody thinks on visiting her grandmother and telling her about the project, since she hasn't seen her in months. She declines, knowing she has to set up before dark. Once they arrive, they explore the school, finding a maths classroom with a large ledger locked in a closet. Melody finds that she is unable to open it, even after taking a knife to it, and eventually forgets about it. While Katie Reynolds explores, she finds a fresh green-painted rose sticking out of each locker. She takes one as her own, and a figure watches her go. While they begin to set up the first scene, Melody and Timmy, bond and exchange interests, much to the chagrin of Peter Reynolds, Katie's athletic older brother. The camera shows a silhouetted figure of a girl watching them, who is revealed to be Katie bringing in the costumes for the film.
While they are filming, Melody suddenly hears a record play Elton John's Your Song playing in the gymnasium, and finds it playing of its own accord. She sees that the record player is over fifty years old and, tied to it, is a school photo which is too dusty and distorted to make out the people in it. She experiences a dream where a young girl is sitting in the maths room, sketching from papers in the ledger that they found in the room. She is sketching a green rose. When Melody tries to get a closer look, the girl looks up and calls out in Timmy's voice, calling for her to wake up because she overslept and they need to continue filming.
Melody, mid-film, is caught in a violent argument with Katie and Timmy over whether or not he is overplaying and making it seem melodramatic in his role as the Prom King of the film. During the argument, a defeated Katie storms off and, while having a silent tantrum by the pond, sees a beautiful green dress floating through the water towards her. She retrieves it from the water and takes it back into the school, hiding it for herself for unknown reasons. Meanwhile, Melody visits her grandmother in a break to celebrate the woman's seventieth birthday. During the conversation they have privately, Melody starts talking about the project and when she mentions Icevale High, her grandmother becomes frantic and behaves strangely, starting to drink excessive alcohol for her age. She begs that Melody not go back and choose someplace else, but under the assumption that she is drunk Melody ignores her - this is supported when her mother comments that, when she was in her late teens, she had a brutal alcohol problem which she endured Rehab to overcome.
In her absence, Katie tries on the green dress and dances to herself in the mirror. Timmy walks in on her suddenly and is attracted to her because she has altered the dress to make herself seem more attractive to him. Katie and Timmy have sex, but at the climax of it Katie briefly hallucinates that Timmy has transformed into a long-haired blonde boy who looks entirely different. Initially, she is shocked but quickly forgets about it. While she is lying awake, smiling to herself, she spies a record player which inexplicably starts playing of its own accord, playing Your Song again. She then sees a tall girl in the exact same green dress as hers sitting, cross-legged, on the windowsill. The girl raises a hand and clenches it, and suddenly the collar of the dress Katie is wearing begins to shrink until she begins to choke. Katie thrashes, awakening Timmy, who is suddenly unable to pull the collar away. Katie, hallucinating about the girl on the windowsill, points towards her, but there is nothing there, and Katie finally dies from strangulation right in front of Timmy.
Melody arrives at Icevale High only to find an ambulance parked outside and detectives occupying it, taking photos of the scene of Katie's death. Melody sees Katie's terrified face as she is covered by a cloak and carried away on a stretcher. Timmy explains what happened, and suddenly Melody remembers seeing Katie's corpse wearing the green dress; She runs after Katie's body to see the dress but discovers that Katie is inexplicably naked, and the detectives do not understand her when she asks after the dress, claiming there was no dress. Timmy is implicated in Katie's murder.
The investigation goes nowhere and the school is left by the detectives, bar one Captain Beck, who is Timmy's uncle and intends to continue investigating on his own. Meanwhile, Melody is awakened from her sleep by the sound of a bouncing ball in the gymnasium. She sees a basketball match being played by two teams, boys and girls, and eventually the girls win. It is observed that one of the boys, Sam Collins, is attracted to another girl, Veronica Snow, an orphaned girl whom Melody recognizes as the girl in the green dress. After the match, the two of them talk, observed by two others: Fan Franklin, a school bully to Veronica, and another unnamed girl who is apparently Veronica's best friend. Melody follows Veronica into the changing rooms where she is caught doodling Sam's name in a sketchbook and drawing cartoons of him with hearts surrounding them, indicating she has a crush on him. Meanwhile, Sam is flirted to by Fan, but he rejects her and moves along, and Melody briefly sees the look of venom in Fan's eyes.
Melody continues to have these visions, depicting that it is prom night in a week or so, and Veronica is extremely nervous because Sam invited her to prom. Her best friend, called Brienna, comforts her while one of the teachers, Mrs. Green, encourages her to go and even offers to buy her a dress, but it is Brienna who buys the dress. However, Brienna is jealous of Veronica and that Sam is attracted to her, and is drawn into a cruel scheme by Fan to humiliate her, drawing her away from Sam. Melody does not hear this plan as it is whispered too quietly to hear.
Meanwhile Timmy enters one of the classrooms in an attempt to find one of the costumes for the film, and hears the sound of chalk on a chalkboard. Following the sound, he discovers an illuminated classroom with several teenagers of varying ages, but a few adults, sitting at the desks. Veronica stands at the front of the class with a chalkboard and is slowly drawing an accurate picture of Melody, before reaching out with one hand and clawing slowly, intensely, into the chalkboard, drawing five long, vicious scratches across Melody's body. Veronica then sharply turns around to look at Timmy, who is scared by the look on her face into darting out of the classroom and gasping, before turning to look back only to find the classroom empty, bar the clawed chalk drawing of Melody, but this time Melody is smiling.
The film they are making reaches its 'point of no return' and Peter, who realizes that the script makes no sense with the scenes that Katie was supposed to play not happening, so Melody offers to rewrite parts of the script instead. As she does this, she suddenly finds herself uncontrollably writing, in completely different handwriting to her own, what appears to be a love letter from Veronica to Sam, which is suddenly tipexed over and replaced with what appears to be a far more hateful letter written in Brienna's handwriting. She throws the pen away and suddenly looks at the wall to see the prom night being depicted - it is extremely happy and exciting, which climaxes when Veronica is guided into the hall by Brienna, in a fantastically beautiful green dress, with her hair braided delicately and her face thinly made up. Sam is smitten by her beauty and invites her to dance to, at his request, Elton John's Your Song. As they dance, Brienna enviously watches and Fan tells her that they are all ready, and all arrangements have been made. Fan says that she can't do this, but Fan points out that, with Veronica out of the way Sam is ripe for the taking. Then the scene dissolves and Melody is alone in the prom hall, and a silhouette of Veronica is standing on the stage. Melody compassionately asks what happened, but Veronica turns and leaves. When Melody tries to follow her into a corridor, but suddenly is tripped up and falls, knocking herself unconscious.
The bump on her head from the fall is nursed by Peter, who suddenly tries to make advances towards her, which she brushes aside. She leaves the school to head to the police station and bring her findings and experiences to Captain Beck. When she recollects her experiences to a police officer, he treats them as ridiculous and a bid by her to get attention. However, Detective Beck pulls her into his office and explains that, for the bulk of his career, he has been investigating a myriad of strange happenings around the school - bizarre deaths, unexplained sounds such as Elton John's Your Song playing with the source of the music nowhere to be found, and multiple sightings of the 'Prom Queen', as Veronica is named because of her prom dress. He reveals that he has been studying Katie's corpse and that the marks on her throat match those of a collar, so she was strangled by something she was wearing. He is unable to find any solid reason or evidence to his findings, and neither is Melody. Melody brings the detective to the school to continue investigating secretly.
Melody then experiences another vision in the main hall, where she sees Sam being declared Prom King, which was previously a guaranteed thing to happen due to his popularity. Veronica, who has been drinking alcohol due to her nerves for the past hour, is suddenly attacked by Fan and her gang, and stripped of her dress. She is then shoved out in to the hall just as her name is called as Prom Queen - the entire population of the hall is shocked at the fact that she has lost her dress and is practically naked. She drunkenly walks to the stage, trying to conceal herself and avoid the derisive stares of the people around her. The metal-lettered words Prom King hover over Sam, illuminated by lights, and the words Prom Queen over Veronica, but with a piece sawn off of the 'n' so instead it reads Prom Queer. A horrified Veronica suddenly sees, at the back of the hall, Brienna entering the hall...wearing Veronica's dress! While Sam tries to comfort her and cover her up as people start to take photos, Veronica suffers a brutal fit and collapses. Melody is left stunned by what she has just seen, and faintly hears the sound of Veronica weeping continue on after the vision.
While filming a scene out on the lake, Peter spies a figure in a green dress standing waist-deep in the lake. The others don't see her, but against their suggestions he runs to get a closer look at her, across the pontoon. As he goes, the pontoon suddenly collapses underneath him and he falls through. Melody runs after him, but before she can reach him he slips into the water and drowns. Captain Beck retrieves the body too late and takes it back to a hospital, where Melody and Timmy are called as witnesses. While watching Timmy's dead body, Melody inexplicably receives another vision that took place inside the hospital - A frantic Brienna is arguing vociferously in private with Fan about the malice of their attack on Veronica, and how unforgivably savage it was. Fan arrogantly points out that Sam is free for her to start a relationship with, which silences Brienna. She, knowing that it was their plan to fix the votes to make Veronica Prom Queen, asks who was originally going to be the Prom Queen, and Fan answers that it was going to be Brienna herself.
She sees a doctor who nurses Veronica, and the doctor explains that the fit has permanently damaged her body and mind and that she will never be able to move again, bar being able to speak. Asking for a moment alone, Brienna contemplates what to do next and finally decides (Motivated by Veronica's inevitable hatred for her, and the fact that, as Fan pointed out, Sam can be hers now) to privately increase her painkiller dosage to an intense degree. Once she does this, Veronica suddenly wakes up and seizes Brienna by the neck and pulling her close, so that they are eye to eye. Brienne has a few seconds to observe the look of intense rage in Veronica's eyes before Veronica dies. Her attack on Brienne is officially rumoured to be a second fit that was so intense it killed her. As Brienna watches Veronica being readied for carrying away, the camera cross-dissolves from Brienna's face to Melody's grandmother, revealing that the latter is a much older Brienna.
Shocked by what she believed to be the finale of the visions, Melody runs to the maths room and retrieves the ledger, which she finds has been prematurely opened. She empties it, and a mess of papers spill out, depicting love letters and fantastical drawings by Veronica of her future life with Sam. She brings the ledger and its contents to Detective Beck, who matches the handwriting with Veronica's and, upon hearing what Melody saw about the Prom Night, matches the names of the people involved with people who mysteriously died after Veronica's death: Sam pitched himself off of a diving board and smashed his head off the poolside, Fan was strangled apparently by her own dress, Mrs. Green drowned in the river, and in all of them the main suspect was the sole witness - Brienna Blue. The investigation of these deaths, due to lack of evidence and thus lack of leverage to continue, was revoked.
Melody rushes to her grandmother's house and, after sharing tea with her, accuses her for what happened at the Prom Night. Faced with a subject she hasn't faced in fifty years, Brienna reminisces that she and Veronica were closer than siblings as children, until Veronica met Sam and Brienna felt that Veronica had supplanted her from her social circle, and worse Brienna herself was in love with Sam. She explained that she originally thought the prank on Veronica was going to be innocent and not sadistic, and was more horrified than anyone by what it became. She was childishly jealous of Veronica eventually, and desperately wanted to have something that was hers and not Veronica's. She really loved the dress she bought for her, but after Veronica was attacked was reluctant to wear it.
And, when she killed Veronica, she originally believed it was kinder for Veronica, but in fact it was selfish so that she could have Sam as her own and not be faced with the part she had played in Veronica's humiliation - the worst part should have been that it ultimately came to nothing. However, Brienna reveals that what was worse that Brienna had a sexual encounter with Sam before the prom, which ultimately led to Melody's mother's conception - Sam was Melody's grandfather. There was an original fear that Melody would turn out like Veronica, brought on by the supernatural events following her death, but Melody proved to be the antithesis of Veronica Snow - ambitious, brilliant, confident. However, Brienna assumes that Veronica and Melody are more similar than she thought - chiefly, the two of them are innocent. Melody explains to her grandmother that deaths similar to those surrounding the Prom have been happening, and Brienna suddenly starts crying, muttering hysterically 'She's coming....she's coming'. sje points at a mirror and, when Melody looks in that direction, she sees Veronica sitting in Melody's place and realises she will kill again.
Motivated by her grandmother's story, Melody rushes back to the school to revoke the project and bring Timmy and the others out of the school before any more of them die. Meanwhile, while Captain Beck investigates a record playing atop the diving board, he discovers it at the top playing Your Song. He discovers that his shoelace is loose and ties it, and moves to pick up the record player, but inexplicably his laces have been tied to the railings of the diving board. He struggles to pull himself free, until Veronica appears right in front of him and, shocked, he falls off the diving board, his fall stymied by his shoelace being tied to the railing. After a suspenseful struggle to get back on to the board, his foot slips through the shoe and he plummets, killed when his head smashes on the poolside just like Sam had done.
Melody discovers the detective's body and, remembering his story about Sam's suicide, screams until Timmy arrives, and when they turn the detective's body over, it has Sam's face on it. Melody explains what she has learned about the school, but Timmy is reluctant to believe her, pointing out that if they leave now, with the film unfinished, they fail the school project and have to face the humiliation. Although she is conflicted by this because she had previously been a star student, Melody decides to leave and convinces Timmy of this. However, when they try to leave, the doors slam shut in their faces and the windows repair when they try to break them. Veronica appears and, flanked by a throng of ghosts of people she's killed since the Prom Night, corners them in the prom hall, where hide and Melody desperately calls Mr. Summers. He comes to the school and manages to enter the hall unopposed, and Melody runs to him when he calls that they are leaving now. However, Melody sees Veronica standing above them on the control deck (Where the disco lights are suspended) and falls to a halt, calling for Mr. Summers to stop. He hears her too late and a chandelier falls on his head, killing him.
While they are trapped together, Timmy confesses his love for Melody, who confesses that she loves him also. They passionately kiss and Melody suddenly hears Elton John's Your Song playing in the background, and initially is reluctant to do anything else, but Timmy appears hypnotized by the music and encourages her to dance. She does, and eventually she is captivated by the music. Veronica watches from the stage as they dance, and her victims encircle the two lovers as the song climaxes. Meanwhile, sensing that, with Melody being her granddaughter, Veronica will seek to damage her beyond any degree, Brienna leaves her house and drives desperately for the school.
Veronica detects her approach and gestures for the ghost of Fan to intercept Brienna. At the same time, Daniella hears Melody's screams from the school and runs over to find her from across the road. Brienna sees Fan's ghost walk on to the road and, screaming, swerves to avoid her, crashing the car and accidentally killing Daniella. She escapes the car and limps into the school, just as the song finishes. She sees Melody still dancing slowly with Timmy and moves to pull them apart, but Veronica appears and Brienna halts, screaming pleadingly for Veronica to spare Melody and Timmy and to punish her instead, apologising tearfully for what she has done. Veronica smiles and claps three times, causing an intense light to appear behind her. She leads Melody and Timmy, who are still dancing hypnotically, into the light and vanishes.. Brienna collapses, suffering the same fit that Veronica experienced all those years ago. The police arrives in time to find Brienna's convulsing body and carries her out of the school.
Brienna wakes up in a hospital bed, in the exact same position Veronica had been in. She is being tended to by nurses, but suddenly they are called away and another nurse, who Brienna perceives as Veronica in her bloodied prom dress, surrounded by her victims. She reaches for the machine that applies painkillers, obviously considering poetically killing Brienna the way Brienna had done in reverse, and Brienna pleads incomprehensibly for it to be done. Instead, Veronica refuses and leans in and kisses Brienna on the forehead, saying 'You wanted me to make you suffer. So, suffer', before spreading her arms and causing her victims to back away, showing that she is letting Brienna carry on living with the innumerable deaths that are on her head. Brienna starts to scream with despair as she hears Your Song playing on a discman that Brienna leaves by the bed, before the Prom Queen leaves hand-in-hand with Timmy and Melody.
During the credits, Melody and Timmy can be seen slowly dancing in a bright green spotlight, with Veronica standing over them, watching silently. Screen captions read:
Under the assumption that her mind had snapped, Brienna Blue was committed to an asylum after falling into a deep-rooted silence. She is still there.
The bodies of Peter Reynolds, Captain Beck and Mr. Summers were discovered and, to this day, the circumstances of their deaths are unresolved. They were buried in the grounds of the school.
The bodies of Melody Blue and Timmy Spears were never found, but in the place where they dwell, they dance at the feet of the Prom Queen...forever'.
- Ariel Winter as Melody Blue, the protagonist - an ambitious and brilliant, if overachieving and reckless girl who finds herself to be the centre of Veronica Snow's revenge. Ariel Winter was one of seven who auditioned for the role - the others included Ellen Page, Maisie Williams, AnnaSophia Robb and Chloe Grace Moretz.
- Sophie Turner as Veronica Snow, the titular main antagonist of the film - formerly an innocent, nervous and underconfident but beautiful girl who is the victim of a sadistic prank that kills her, only for her to return as a ghost who haunts the school.
- Zachary Gordon as Timmy Spears, the deuteragonist - a resourceful and pragmatic boy who is Melody's love interest. He and Melody are ultimately killed by Veronica when she hypnotises them to enter the spirit realm in a neverending dance.
- Pam Ferris as Brienna Blue, Melody's grandmother, who knew Veronica at school and was ultimately responsible for her suffering and all of the suffering that is caused afterwards. She is the true and sole target of Veronica's wrath, and the sole survivor of the incident.
- Megan Charpentier as a young Brienna Blue in flashbacks
- Alex Pettyfer as Peter Reynolds, an athletic, confident captain of the football team who is the co-director of the film. He is killed by Veronica via drowning in the river outside the school.
- Robert de Niro as Captain Beck, Timmy's uncle who is called to investigate the school once the death rate increases. He is killed by Veronica when he falls from the diving board in a swimming pool.
- Bill Paxton as Karl Summers, Ariel's teacher who is periodically supervising the project at the school for the kids. He is killed by Veronica when a chandelier falls on his head.
- Elle Fanning as Katie Reynolds, a vain and selfish girl who controls the costuming of the film and discovers Veronica's prom dress. She is killed by Veronica when she causes the collar of the dress to strangle Katie to death once she tries to wear it.
- Charlotte Beaumont as Fan Franklin, the spoiled bully who orchestrated the prank on Veronica. She appears as a corpse and as a ghost, perpetually inferior to the girl she'd bullied.
- Jessica Chastain as Mrs. Green, the teacher who reached out to Veronica and persuaded her to go to Prom. She appears as a corpse and as a ghost at Veronica's side - it was remarked that she died the more painlessly.
- Hugh Mitchell as Sam Collins, Veronica's original love interest who is the first to die on account of her incident. He is Melody's grandfather, on account of conceiving her mother with Brienna before the Prom Night.
- Bryce Dallas Howard as Daniella Blue, Melody's mother. She is killed by Veronica Snow when she is lured into the path of Brienna's speeding car.
Deleted scenes Edit
In the specia features section of the DVD edition there are a few deleted scenes, including an alternate ending. One is a scene that occurs just before Melody witnesses the prom scene, where she visits a changing room by the swimming pool at the school. She looks in a mirror and sees Veronica, who mimics her movements and reactions. She thinks that she (Melody) is a reincarnation of Veronica and runs from the changing room. It is at this point that she starts rewriting the script for their film and experiences the prom scene. Director's cut explains that the scene was omitted beca it felt somewhat out of place in the movie.
Another deleted scene is at the climax of the movie. Just as Melody and Timmy are about to be dragged into the light in dance, Melody hears her grandmother's cries and fights Veronica's control over her. In the process, she accidentally pushes Timmy through the portal, which vanishes before she can rescue him. She falls to her knees and Brienna embraces her as she weeps, saying that it's over now. Veronica watches, silently enraged, before looking at the audience and screaming, causing the screen to shatter and go blsck. Director's cut says that the scene was cut out of respect to the original material and the ending they already had seemed more fitting for the movie they'd made.
Box Office Edit
The film was a box office success, grossing over $956,500,000 in the American box office within the first six months of its release, and grossing over £840,000, 000 in the UK box office. It attracted 87% of its audience on its first release in the US, and sold over 39,050,000 tickets in cinemas, not including 3D tickets, from then on. It has climbed marginally higher since then, but has generally maintained a balance with its American box office gross.
Critical Reception Edit
Prom Queen immediately received near-universal critical acclaim from critics and horror-movie fans alike, and currently holds a 98% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Praise went to its musical score, script, performances, production value and screenplay. Its critical consensus on IMDb reads 'With an amazing cast and a pristine director, Prom Queen is a thinking man's horror movie with an ingenious premise, a riveting story and an unpredictable script, with fascinating exploration into the themes of popularity, ambition, regret and vengeance', and multiple critics hugely praised the film's incorporation of suspense, which is considered dominant in comparison with its scares, which lead to applause going to the director for incorporating such styles so skilfully.
The performances of Ariel Winter, Sophie Turner and Pam Ferris were met with widespread acclaim, with Kevin C. Johnson of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch calling Winter's portrayal of Melody Blue 'compelling, subtle and with a clandestine depiction of ambition and naivety, making the experiences she endures even more terrifying' and critics commenting that they felt as though they were seeing the world through her eyes, despite several other perspectives taken and many speculated that she owned every second of her presence. Winter herself described the experience of acting out the film as 'Riveting and exciting, and I had such fun with the other actors portraying the tragedy of the film' and remarking that, when she watched the film at its completion, 'I was gripping my pillow to my face and biting my nails'.
Sophie Turner's performance was called 'Powerful, terrifying and mysterious, with a presence that suspends the entire movie', and one fan remarking that 'She inhabits the character of Veronica Snow the way an eye inhabits a socket', and Pam Ferris commented that she felt genuinely frightened in the climax of the film facing Sophie. Zachary Gordon was also praised for his performance, with critics commenting on his surprisingly believable portrayal of a loving boyfriend and a human being, as opposed to an object of the heroine's love. Ferris's performance was acclaimed for its depiction of regret. Horror movie director Sean S. Cunningham commented that Ferris 'walks a very fine, very fragile line between guilt and innocence', and praised her for her suspenseful performance in the very final scene in the movie.
Decisions such as Veronica's green dress being bloodied in the final scene was considered confusing and unoriginal by some, but the director explained that it symbolised the blood on Brienna's hands, considering Brienna wore the dress once Veronica was attacked and was thus increasingly responsible for Veronica's suffering. Also, a multitude of critics and moviegoers contacted Elton John on the subject of one of his most famous songs being used to terrify audiences in such a dark film, to which he expressed he felt honoured to have his song in the film and commenting that, if anything, it made him enjoy the movie more due to the irony of the song in such a film.
Critic Dan Schindel gave the film five stars out of five, highlighting Winter's performance and the 'spellbinding' directing by Fincher, as well as the ruthless handling of such an intense premise. He commented on his Facebook page - 'Prom Queen: Terrifying, intelligent, suspenseful and powerful. My advice: don't see this movie before your own prom. It will make you scared of your own reflection!'. A number of critics commented positively on its originality, despite drawing inspiration from other horror films such as Carrie and The Woman in Black. Stephen King himself commented that he hugely enjoyed the film and considered it 'a clever, captivating story that keeps viewers with their fists clenched and their eyes glued to the screen'. He also praised the chemistry between Winter and Gordon, calling it 'realistic, grounded and powerful, and patiently progressed into a heartbreaking climax'.
When the film was released in 3D, it was remarked that audiences' screams could be heard from across the street to almost every cinema it was shown in.
The film was rated 18 on account of constant bloody violence, intense horror, disturbing imagery, visceral suspense, very frequent strong language, sex and nudity. There was a bid to censor several scenes on the DVD editions (Including several shots of the prom scene), but these were revoked on the request of the cast members themselves.
The film received a multitude of awards upon release. Sophie Turner was nominated and awarded Best Villain, Most Terrifying Performance by a Young Actor/Actress, Best Actress, Most Tragic Character in a Horror Movie and Most Gut-Wrenching Performance, whilst being nominated for Best Hissy Fit and Best Dance (Joint with Hugh Mitchell). Ariel Winter was awarded for Best Actress, Best Heroine, Best Liplock (Joint with Zachary Gordon), Most Sympathetic Performance, Best Lead in a Horror Movie and Young Actress of the Year, whilst being nominated for Best Rant, Best Scene-Stealer and Best Anti-Hero.
The film itself was awarded Best Horror Movie, Best Screenplay, Best Ensemble Cast in a Horror Movie, Best Make-Up, Best Musical Score, Most Suspenseful Movie of the Year, Best Title Sequence, Best Director for David Fincher, Best Editing, Best Climax, Scariest Movie of the Year. It was nominated for Best Producer, Best Script, Movie of the Year, Blockbuster of the Year, Best Writer for Stephen King and Best Song for Your Song. Pam Ferris was nominated for Best Supporting Actress, Most Tear-Jerking Performance, and Best Monologue. The scene entitled 'Birth of the Prom Queen' (The scene of Veronica's humiliation) was awarded Best Holy Sh*t Moment.
Elle Fanning won for Best Hissy Fit and Zachary Gordon won for Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, Best Chemistry (Shared with Winter) and nominated for Best Male Actor in a Horror Movie.