Thursday, December 25, 2008
To call Black Christmas campy would probably be a compliment. So I will refer to this film as a tepid remake of the 1974 Black Christmas which I am guessing was a superbly constructed film, based on the overall ratings the film has garnered. Although the original was a cult classic, it also appears that the script was quite different from the remake. Reading the synopsis of the 1974 version makes it apparent that major script changes altered the remake drastically…a drastic mistake from my uninformed perspective. I now find myself compelled to rent the original to find out how the 1974 version could possibly have had such widespread appeal in comparison to the garbage marketed in 2006.
Black Christmas is a macabre tale of sorority sisters who obviously don’t have a life, considering they are all twittering around their sorority house on Christmas Eve. Coincidentally, the sorority house was the scene of a grisly killing. Billy Lenz (Cainan Wiebe as the younger, Robert Mann as the older) killed his entire family in the sorority house on Christmas Eve 1991. He made cookies from his mother’s skin. Creepy, but probably the only bright spot in the movie. Billy was committed to a hospital for the criminally insane, before using a sharpened candy cane to facilitate his escape. Billy is joined by his blind and equally unstable sister Agnes (Christina Crivici as the younger, Dean Friss as the older) in a Christmas Eve bloodfest at their old residence.
Through a series of weak excuses on why no one can leave the house, we end up with a residence full of scared sorority sisters who are too stupid to take their chances in the winter storm to leave. Personally, when faced with certain death, I would opt to brave the elements. I think that would hold true for most people. But I guess you have to create the environment for a slasher film such as this. After deciding that sorority sisters stick together (and die together) the killers pick them off one by one until the party is moved to another location where the killers get an opportunity to finish what they started.
The plot in Black Christmas, if you can call it that, lacks any direction. It is a gore-drenched film with a very weak premise. The concept of the original film was based on some actual killings that happened near Christmas. This film doesn’t maintain enough credibility to be tied to any actual events. It is simply an excuse to gross out an audience. Any opportunity to extricate eyeballs from their sockets is seized upon. The Writer/Director (Glen Morgan) wasted no opportunity to stab, jab, rip or remove flesh. The sickening sound effects were further intended to chill. It may have worked if not for the faulty premise upon which this entire exercise rests. Aside from being utterly predictable, the dialogue was sickeningly hackneyed. Ohmygod, a bunch of sorority girls discussing their options? The script was probably written in text-speak (you know, where everything is abbreviated, lol). The characters were flat, and failed to find empathy from an audience who could care less if they survive. The weak predictable characters deserved everything they got. I almost had to root for the bad guy…hoping that he would hurry up to lessen my own suffering.
The acting was equally lukewarm. It was tedious to watch the drab dialogue delivered in typical airhead fashion. The cast included Katie Cassidy, Michelle Trachtenberg, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Crystal Lowe, Kristen Cloke, Lacey Chabert, Oliver Hudson and Andrea Martin. There is not an actor or actress I could single out as having moved me. The performances were unexceptional across the board. A poor cast to further support the trend towards mediocrity set in the writing. The original film notably featured Margot Kidder and Andrea Martin before they gained widespread notoriety. Apparently Martin was involved with the remake. The acting did nothing to change my general opinion of this stinker.
Read More About Black Christmas