This is the second remake of the 1974 Canadian slasher movie
Black Christmas, and seems to be a remake in name only. The first two Black
Christmas’ were about evil degenerate people living in the attic of a
sorority, killing the sisters one-by-one in the house. This movie throws all
that out the window in favour of a generic horror movie that wants so
desperately to be a timely and relevant critique of rape culture and a feminist
power fantasy, but lacks decent execution, compelling characters, or fluent
writing to do so.
I don’t mean to be so negative straight into the first
paragraph of a review, but Black Christmas annoyed me. Not because it’s
a badly made film with questionable construction, but because it is so
aggressively bland that it left no impact and I’m already starting to forget
it. I fully support its internal politics and attempts to destroy, in a
fictional setting, rape culture and the oppressive patriarchy setting upon
young women, but I felt alienated and bludgeoned by this movie’s bluntness and
wearing-thin the meaning of such messages.
Directed and co-written by Sophia Takal, Black Christmas stars
Imogen Poots as college student and sorority sister Riley who, with other
sorority sisters on the night before their winter break, are hunted down and
terrorised by mysterious, black-cloaked attackers around the college campus,
hellbent on destroying women by any means necessary.
First off, we never really care about the characters. Riley
is a traumatised rape victim who no-one believed and now cannot feel
comfortable around most people, but this trauma and insecurity never comes back
to strengthen other character relationships. Her struggle is shown just enough
to get you into thinking about some kind of meaningful resolution, then forgets
it all in favour of more meaningless side characters who all feel the same and
a plot that wants to be crazy and unexpected like other horror movies with a
Satanic edge but is just basic and bland.
It’s not like I was expecting much from another Black Christmas movie, but Blumhouse can and have done great work, and a new female voice in horror is always a welcome thing, but this movie is not enough of the important horror things and too much of its own message that nothing registers in the end. Black Christmas is a forgettable 90-minute jump-scare-fest that won’t satisfy horror fans, other supporters of feminism, or really general audiences looking for a thrill. Or at least I predict so. Believe in victims though please!
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