Black Christmas is a remake of a 1974 film which is considered the
grandfather of the slasher genre, but which I have never seen. I suppose that's
just as well, since most critics who have seen the original panned this as a
pale and unnecessary copy.
Several sorority sisters are still stuck in their house over the
Christmas holidays. They have gathered for their cheerless Christmas party. Meanwhile, a
convicted spree killer has escaped from the institution for the criminally
insane. I'll bet you'll never guess what eventually became of his childhood home, the house where he killed his
family so many years ago.
There's nothing wrong with the film by genre standards. It is technically
proficient, well paced, and includes plenty of macabre humor. I laughed
out loud at one scene. A warden is feeding the dangerous criminals in the
insanity ward. As he goes down the row of cells, he drones "Merry Christmas ...
Merry Christmas ... " in a bored voice as he shoves the food through each
pass-through - until he comes to one cell where he says "Happy Birthday"
camera peers through the pass-through window and reveals a prisoner who thinks
he is Jesus.
Actually, there were quite a few clever little surprises like that in the
film (Christmas cookies made with human flesh shaped by cookie-cutters, anyone?), but the story was weighted down with one big problem. Although I had never
seen this movie or the original version before, I felt as if I had. Insane guy
escaping. Killing off young girls one by one. Bizarre family secrets.
Threatening phone calls with cryptic messages. Cardboard,
stereotypical victims. Making a film from this clay requires complete
originality and creativity in the execution. While the creator of this film
(writer/director Glen Morgan) showed some Úlan, it was just not enough to get me
through the feeling of "why exactly am I watching this same old stuff again?"
I think that the good touches here and there make it a marginally watchable
film for gorehounds, but critics were less impressed than I was, and most of
them were unable to find much merit in the film.
If you are not familiar with our grading system, you need to
explanation, because the grading is not linear. For example, by
our definition, a
C is solid and a C+ is a VERY good movie. There are very few Bs
and As. Based on our descriptive system, this film is a:
If you are not a gorehound, stay away. Even if you like this
sort of thing, it's competent, but so tired that it's barely