Let’s have a Merry Christmas.
I wanted to review this one on Christmas Eve and the new one on Christmas Day, but the new one left the theater so fast (great sign) I didn’t get a chance to see it.
Perhaps controversially, I don’t love the original Black Christmas as much as a lot of horror fans. I respect it (really), but I also find it kind of boring. I think that a lot of the original slashers are a little too slow paced. However, classics like Halloween and Texas Chainsaw Massacre pack a hell of a punch despite their age. The best thing about the original Black Christmas is that it helped define the genre. While things it in seem cliché now, they weren’t at release, and the originality is worth noting.
I’m not really sure why this one was given the Black Christmas name as it changes a bit of the story. Calling it “Season’s Slayings” or something would remove the comparisons between this and the original. The film kind of wants to be a remake and kind of wants to be a sequel. Either way, it ends up sucking. However, removing these comparisons would force us to focus on the subpar slasher film that we have, which is what I’m going to do.
We get a decent look at the killer, Billy, who escapes from a mental asylum early in the movie. Is it a daring escape? Nope. It relies on stupidity, as do most of the events in this film.
Most of our time is spent with obnoxious sorority sisters who are largely interchangeable in behavior and appearance. I’m honestly not sure how many sorority sisters are present throughout the narrative. The characters are too flat all around and this film works as an odd time capsule before the revolution of good horror of the 2010s. Just about everything that is wrong with low budget horror crap on Amazon is present here.
The only real addition (that is substantive) is the addition of tons and tons of gore. You could probably farm some gory scenes for a compilation of decent kills, but other than that it doesn’t matter. Bad writing and directing make this a slog to get through. Even if you’re a kill fanatic, you’ll still have to suffer through a lot of crap before each okay at best kill shot.
I feel like I rail against crappy characters more often than anything else on this blog, and this is another example. I worry that I am becoming too jaded to give good reasoning for every crappy film that comes out. We have college students who live together but seem to know nothing about one another. Since it is Christmas, they have spent at least four months living together, yet their personalities seem new to everyone. They all seem to hate on another as well, which makes it hard to find anyone worth rooting for.
The way they treat each other is terrible. I’m not sure why the writers figured this would be a good way to get anyone invested. Throw in mean-spirited bullying, sexism, and other tasteless crap and you have yourself a cast—I’m sure the writers said this.
The directing is poor, and the lighting is terrible. Interior shots are too dark (despite the alarming number of lamps in the house) and there seems to be no cohesive artistic vision. Every shot seems to have been done with a “good enough” vibe behind it.
For a slasher, it is surprisingly boring. Excluding closing credits, we have a running time of about 75-minutes. I think we could trim out close to forty-minutes of empty scenes of people being jackasses. If you took a shot every time there is terrible dialogue, you’d die before the film was halfway over.
This isn’t a tribute to the original. It is a shameless and amateur attempt to cash in on nostalgia. This is easily one of the most cliché-ridden remakes ever made.
For fanatics of slashers, this one might be worth seeing if you’re running low on anything new to watch. You still won’t like it much though. Otherwise, this is a film that should have never been greenlit.
I know the new one is getting blasted, but I don’t see how they could muck it up worse than this.