In this 2006 remake of the horror classic, Black Christmas, while being a closer adaptation to the original, it unfortunately doesn’t live up to its potential. It’s a good film with fantastic ideas and talents scratching under the surface of what we actually were gifted with. However, there are clever moments you can find within the cliché-ridden, uninteresting mess it ultimately becomes. So, let’s get right into it and bury the hatchet.
Also, spoiler alert, our unicorn was fully utilized:
The Plot :
Like in all the Black Xmas movies, this centers around a sorority and its sisters getting ready for the holiday break, spending the last few moments together before leaving for their homes.
However, before they leave, they will give their Secret Santa gifts. As a macabre tribute to the house and its history, during the Secret Santa, one girl must buy a present for the previous owner of the home, Billy – an emotionally and physically abused maniac who killed his family on Christmas years ago. Through a series of story flashbacks, we are told his history and legacy, including his promise to “be home for Christmas”.
Throughout the night, a winter storm rages outside, and they suddenly start to go missing one-by-one. Finally realizing that Billy has returned as promised, the remaining women struggle to stay alive and defeat Billy…and his twisted secret.
The first 30 minutes was actually really terrific and I was wondering if I was missing something bad. Yes, the “crazy house” was over-the-top, as was the wine-drinking, smarmy girltalk, but there were so many clever, tongue-in-cheek moments within those settings that I was so excited for the ride we were about to take. It felt both old/familiar, but new/different, which is the perfect balance for any remake.
The shots and editing were terrific; a great mix of quiet and rising tension, and tight suspense, like the shot of Xmas cookies rattling on the table as someone is beaten to death a few feet away. It delighted me thoroughly. Cinematographer did an outstanding job pulling the viewer in.
The lighting did not disappoint and went further than its 2019 counterpart, especially with the alternating lights of red and green. The set design with Xmas decorations felt more in tuned to the movie and the spirit of it. Absolutely beautiful.
Oof, everything after that first 30 minutes. It’s like a switch went off – a half-ass switch. Now, after reading some interviews, it looks like the studio made a lot of changes and edits to the point the director didn’t even want to be associated with the movie anymore and I can see why. It becomes a very problematic movie with too many characters, inexplicable motives, horrible writing, too many subplots, and a baffling ending.
And, also, that was the worst fake snow that has ever been made. Get your money back and call up Hallmark’s people next time.
Thoughts: Brain Roll Juice
The thing that keeps sticking in my craw is that there is a female character that’s played by a male…for no reason. No pressing reason I can find, anyway. This is not a trans-actress, nor trans character. This is…just a male portraying a female. Which is…strange.
And it would be interesting if the female character interacted with the other female characters in the idea of “sisterhood” (the sisterhood card gets pulled out a few times), but it doesn’t happen. It’s never addressed. It’s…it’s just a strange choice… I don’t think I like it. Not without a purpose.
I wish I could have seen what Director Glen Morgan had envisioned without studio interference. But the first 30 minutes can’t salvage the rest of it.(2 / 5)