Black Christmas Review

Christmas Eve in a small, American college town. At one of the sorority houses, the few girls who haven't gone home for the holidays are preparing a half-hearted celebration of their own. Spoiling the tone is the knowledge that their sorority house played host to a bloody Yuletide massacre fifteen years before, when a disturbed young man killed his family and ate them. At least they can take comfort from knowing the killer is safely locked up in a mental asylum, in a maximum security ward, with absolutely no chance of breaking out and returning to his old home to re-enact his rampage. Can you guess what happens next?

Black Christmas is a remake of a seventies slasher film which pre-dates Halloween and has picked up a cult following over the years. I haven't watched it but I can't believe this remake will inspire any sort of following. It's an unoriginal and monumentally boring horror movie whose makers think that a slick visual style and a hipper-than-thou attitude will distract us from the fact that we've seen it all before. Countless times before.

The mad killer with the mother complex, the good-looking teenagers who stupidly wander off and get slaughtered, the climax where the heroine takes on the killer - it's been done straight, it's been done with irony, it's been done as parody, it's been done to death. Even the graphic, eyeball-ripping sadism is nothing we haven't seen in numerous mainstream horror films recently. The slasher genre might be past saving at this point but if there is a way to re-invigorate it, the makers of Black Christmas haven't found it.

Maybe their idea of a twist was to make the victims even less sympathetic than the killer, who at least has a good reason for being unpleasant. The sorority girls, played by Michelle Trachtenberg and Lacey Chabert among others, are a bunch of snotty, acid-tongued bitches who behave like they're training to be Meryl Streep's character from The Devil Wears Prada. Are we supposed to think they're cool? Wouldn't it be better if we could give a damn about them?

Talented people made Black Christmas. It's technically well crafted and Glen Morgan's direction would serve a much better film. He and his longtime writing / producing partner James Wong also collaborated on Final Destinations 1 and 3. Their scripts for those films had a wit to them that Black Christmas sorely lacks. Even by the standards of the slasher genre, this is weak. It's Halloween without the suspense, Scream without the laughs, Friday The 13th without the cheesy exploitation. In other words, it's a movie without a point.

Overall

3

out of 10
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