Movie Review: Black Christmas

Movie Review: Black Christmas

25th December 2020 Off By Ewan Gleadow

Copyright: Blumhouse Pictures

Blumhouse is not a sign of quality. Those that have mistaken them as such should view Fantasy IslandFreaky, and You Should Have Left for proof of their modern misgivings. Their business model is a smart one, but their success rate when it comes to quality filmmaking is far from exceptional. Case in point, Black Christmas, a remake of the great Bob Clark slasher of the same name. Not the first time this film has been adapted, but hopefully the last. A studio that builds itself upon low risk, high reward ideas, should not be surprised when their projects are languishing in such dreary nonsense. 

What Black Christmas didn’t need was a cult angle. Losing the festive terrors, replacing it with turgid and ineffective horror, the changes made to the pacing are horrific. Gone is the tension of being alone in a house with a killer on the loose. The trick to the original Black Christmas is to keep the audience in the know, but the characters in the dark. Supernatural elements are thrust upon the new core and twists of the film, which also tries to insert several nods and winks to the original. Sophia Takal’s work here behind the camera is truly embarrassing. A series of quick cuts make for terribly poor action, the horror is superbly underwhelming, and our performers don’t manage to make heads or tails of its truly dense script. 

Foreshadowing galore, with none of the charm or artistic touches needed to make a competent horror. Black Christmas hunkers down under a bed of modern problems and faux activism, replacing actual horror and terror with the shoddy social justice and weakly written prose that attempts to detail toxic masculinity, modern-day feminism, and all the complex buzzwords you can think of. Shed of any articulation or understanding of what they genuinely mean, Black Christmas struggles to form any competency or consistency. Failing to get to grips with how tension should be built, or how it works, is a key loss here, with Takal’s work completely devoid of any artistic flair or fine-tuning.  

Nothing close to the classic touch of Bob Clark, it feels insulting to refer to him in this failed remake of Black Christmas. Feeling disingenuous almost immediately, with references that’ll make fans plead for the sweet embrace of chilling sorority claustrophobia. Attempting to appeal to wider audiences with modern gusto, but feeling far more reliant on sexualisation and exploitation than its 70s original, all the while shovelling in a progressive message that doesn’t have a unique voice nor any sense of direction. Horribly weak as a horror, and at the same time a crass and underwhelming attempt to latch onto a popular movement. Weak, cliché, and ultimately worthless.