‘Black Christmas’ // Film Review: Zero Scares For This Pointless Remake

Does anyone else think it’s weird that Universal put out two movies with “Christmas” in the title and both are vastly different movies from each other? Think about it. We just had Last Christmas, which was a holiday romantic comedy that I wished was better, and now we have Black Christmas, a PG-13 slasher horror movie that’s should come out around this time of year.

What’s the Story: On the campus of Hawthorne College during Christmas break, a group of female students are being stalked by a black-masked stranger killing off sorority sisters one by one. With people missing, Riley Stone (Imogen Poots) and her friends wonder who can be trusted.

Imogen Poots and Jonny McBride in Black Christmas (2019)

If the title sounds familiar, that’s because this is a remake of the 1974 Bob Clark movie of the same name, and this is also the second remake after the last one came out in 2006 with Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Michelle Trachtenberg. I never watched either of them, especially the 2006 version after hearing it was terrible. Blumhouse announced that a newer take on the premise was coming out this past summer with Sophia Takal (Into the Dark) to direct and co-write it with April Wolfe. Honestly, there wasn’t any thought of thinking this version of Black Christmas would not be worth talking about since it didn’t look scary, and the fact that this was actually got a PG-13 rating is a sure sign that it’s supposed to attract a younger audience.

Out of curiosity, which always leads to something bad, I checked it out since it is a Christmas movie after all. Plus, I doubt it won’t stay till New Years’. Looking at the box office numbers and realizing that it only made $4.2 million in its opening weekend, that doesn’t surprise me when there were only three of us in the theater. That’s code by saying nobody wanted to see a terrible remake that nobody on earth asked for.

For Blumhouse, not every movie they release under their production company can’t be Get Out or even Happy Death Day. They put out terrible movies in the past, and this is one that should be thrown into that category. Why? At no point was Black Christmas even remotely scary. Never. Most of the tension is just someone looking around and the killer is in the other room or something about to attack. But do we see blood? No, because it had to go to that barely safe PG-13. That’s something to comment about since I don’t think blood makes a horror movie scary, it might help whole hardly throughout. Most of the time, there’s nothing that’s happening and it leads me to boredom when there’s no real suspension. They even have one of those annoying horror clichés that’s in here.

This story comes out as dull and doesn’t have a point of giving an ounce of a crap about these sorority sisters. These are characters that we are hoping to not get killed, and not a single of them were interesting and aren’t given any amount of character development to justify a reason to care about them. Somehow, not feeling sadness when somebody dies shouldn’t be there. Even Imogen Poots, who I think is a very underrated actress, gets a little bit of that when we see flashbacks from a night where she was drugged by some douchebag frat guy. Though it still isn’t enough for her character.

Imogen Poots, Simon Mead, Brittany O'Grady, Lily Donoghue, and Aleyse Shannon in Black Christmas (2019)

If that’s not worse, this tried to convey this message about strong women fighting back, and it wasn’t executed the right way. Takal and Wolfe wanted to make this a feminist horror movie for the genre. Since this is taking place on a college campus, we are seeing an increase of women being raped on college campuses, but that doesn’t mean that every guy who’s in a fraternity or something will assault women. This fact kind of just beats you over the head about it constantly. They even tried to get rid of an English professor (Cary Elwes looking evil from the first scene he’s in). This shouldn’t be the movie to fit into the #MeToo movement when a drama is suited better than this re-telling that needed for gore. I just thought bringing in a female to direct a horror movie sounded like a bright idea and a lot of intrigue was missing throughout.

If you’ve seen the trailer online or before any movie, then you basically saw the entire movie. No surprises to be found, and it spoiled what was supposed to be shocking. Smooth move, marketing team. Because of that, there’s no point in paying to see this.

Even with good intentions, Black Christmas joins the other unneeded horror remakes that are pretty horrible. Because when you have a PG-13 slasher movie that’s never scary and failed at trying to take a relevant message at hand, then what’s the point of making this? It’s 92 minutes that goes by fast but not soon enough to get on the rest of your life. I would say one of the few positive things about is Poot’s performance; although that’s really isn’t enough to let anybody sit through whatever this tried to be.

Grade: D+




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