Black Christmas (2006) Review
Written by: Lee
Some sorority sisters are preparing for Christmas in their college home. It’s a few days before Christmas and snow is falling heavily outside. The housemates are full of yuletide cheer and are swapping gifts around the Christmas tree when the phone rings. Their caller is not wishing them well and worse still, they soon discover that he’s making viscous threats from somewhere inside the house. Unbeknownst to them, Billy Lenz has made a bloody escape from the nearby mental institution and has decided to go home for the holiday. It turns out that their sorority house was home to Billy many years before where his mother first murdered his father, then locked him in the attic and abused him for years. After a while Billy cracked and wreaked horrific revenge on his family.
The killer remains unseen for most of the film and we only ever catch glimpses of its freaky yellow skin. They hide in the attic and move around the home through the crawlspace. They lure unsuspecting victims up into the attic and also prey on others when they feel safe in their dorm rooms. One by one the girls fall victim to the serial killer (did you know you need to kill 3 people in a relatively short interval to become a serial killer). As sheer terror takes over and the body count grows, the girls realise that their only chance of survival is to find their unseen guest before he finds them. A remake of an old horror film, what an original idea. Hollywood seems to be churning out remakes almost every month and they don’t appear to be getting a good hit rate. So does Black Christmas succeed where many fail? Hollywood steps up to the plate, it swings..... and misses.
Where can I start with Black Christmas? How about the good points, well it was only 84 minutes long and it had a quick flash of some boobies. That’s about it; apart from that it was appalling. It’s a remake of a horror ‘classic’ from the 70s (1974). Back in the day it was thought of as original and looking back on it now, what appear to be clichés where actually pretty cutting edge and set the standard for the industry. The movie was made four years before Halloween and has been attributed as one of the original movies that initiated the ‘slasher’ genre. Well unfortunately all the remake seems to have done is copy those clichés, which now feel tired and really aren’t scary.
The director Glen Morgan seems incapable of creating any intensity or a scary atmosphere and tries to substitute this with sudden frights which aim to make you jump but don’t really succeed. What they fail to deliver with terror, they try to replace with gore. There is a lot of blood and some fairly entertaining kills but I pride myself as being a bit of a gore hound and I found it fell well short of the mark.
The plot doesn’t even work in some cases. At one point someone’s sister just seems to appear, I have no idea where she came from. Maybe I’d switched off by then and wasn’t paying attention. Morgan must have thought he better try to put a twist in the story to try to make it more interesting but again they manage to cock this up, the ending just feels convoluted and thrown together for a twist and scary ending that all these movies require. The characters aren’t developed enough and you just don’t care whether or not any of them are going to make it to the end.
It was almost as if they were attempting to make a really tongue in cheek comedy horror but didn’t quite manage to make it ironic enough. It just ends up being a flaccid and dull movie that I came away from actually surprised at how bad it was. Even the most die-hard horror remake fans will find it difficult to enjoy this movie.