Black Christmas Review

Horror remakes really are ten-a-penny. There seems to be no once-profitable franchise that is so dead it can’t be revived for one more round, and they are almost always universally terrible. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves, eh?

What this film is, is a holding pattern. Blumhouse can’t seem to resist when a new property comes ‘round, I’m surprised this isn’t the kind of think BH spontaneously generates when several of their writers meet up.

Jason Blum is highly prolific in the world of horror and for every hit he has, there’s a cheap cash-in project designed to boost his coffers, I’m sure you don’t need to be a seasoned investigator to know where this is going…

Story

A sorority sisterhood at a prestigious college are harassed by an on-campus fraternity. Soon this harassment turns a lot darker and they find themselves hunted down.

Verdict

I don’t think I’ve seen a film swing for a deeper narrative and miss so dramatically this year. It had grand ideas of being a feminist ode to sisterhood, and instead trivialised its subject and made it look very foolish.

I don’t think it’s a bad idea to make a feminist film about the drawbacks of a patriarchal society, but doing so in a lazy, run-of-the-mill slasher film is not just misguided, it’s extremely short-sighted too. You can’t have a narrative point about the patriarchy when a large chunk of your film is dedicated to several young women being slaughtered, it comes across as disingenuous.

There is a place for the slasher film, of course, usually they’re good for a laugh once you’ve shared a few bottles of wine, trying to mix up the formula is admirable, but sometimes it’s that exact thing that will work against you. In the same way I wouldn’t put an LGBTQ+ subplot into Friday the 13th, because it isn’t the place and you’ll just end up looking stupid when the gay characters fall to Jason all the same.

I don’t really know much about the original, my small amount of research indicates that it was more of a home invasion slasher than a clash of genders, although the female aspect was there, and there are aspects of that in this new version, it’s just that it completely lacks any tension or stakes. Anyone who would want to see this would have probably seen enough similar ones to guess exactly what is going to happen and when; this isn’t a horror film that subverts expectations, instead it burrows back inside its expectations and goes to sleep.

Anyone who doesn’t have a bicycle pump lodged in their skull will be able to see what’s about to happen a mile off, and it’s an insult to suggest that any of this would surprise us; and then the film commits another cardinal horror sin: sudden left turn into supernatural territory.

Supernatural horrors are fine, hell, Stephen King has been beating that horse for decades, but suddenly introducing the paranormal into a plot that had never so much as suggested a paranormal element, never mind one as tepid and ridiculously laughable as this films.

I’m going to predict that this film will hardly leave a lasting impression on its audience, and the fact that it’s the third attempt and it’s still as threadbare and stupid indicates that it’s never going to get any better.

It’s also riddled with stereotypical characters that you could be actively forgiven for wanting to become a victim, and some horrendous overacting, it all comes together as a sloppy, misguided effort at seasonal horror, not particularly a good-looking or well-acted one and certainly not an interesting one. I was looking at my watch from about the hour point onwards. Even the occupants of the naughty list don’t deserve this lump of coal.

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