Black Christmas is probably one of the most important horror films of the ’70s, given how influential it was on slasher films. But, despite my endless search for new Christmas horror films, it’s probably also the best serious Christmas horror movie. (Gremlins is a comedy.) I suspected both remakes were bad but I’m not sure I fully understood how utterly different the first remake is. Basically the only similarity between this movie and the original is that it’s a sorority house at Christmas.
It feels like the filmmakers of this movie watched the original Black Christmas and thought, “You know what this movie needs? More plot!” So they’ve created this elaborate backstory for the killers (oops, spoiler) which very much distracts from the film. (The backstory is clearly influenced by bad ’80s Christmas horror movies where kids see Santa fucking and go on to murder people, or whatever.) There are also just too many characters in the entire film, and especially in the present arc. (Like, why is Kyle in this film? We know he didn’t do it pretty damn early.) It just feels like there is too much film here. The original is a pretty simple film and apparently these people just couldn’t help themselves.
So one of the killers lost “her” eye and so this movie has more eye-related horror than just about any other horror movie I’ve ever seen. But it’s not super well done, so even though eye-related horror normally icks me out, I found this just silly. The film just seems obsessed with showing eye-related gore, to the point where it feels like this is the actual point of the film. It just gets repetitive. It’s not super creative.
One of my biggest problems, aside from how this does not feel like it’s really a Black Christmas remake, is the house. The house just seems insane. There are all these spaces in the walls and floors that the one killer can crawl through. It’s like that episode of Bob’s Burgers where they get stuck in the walls.
Moreover, near the climax, there’s this scene where they are calling a dead girl’s cell phone (the call has to come from inside the house, of course), and it’s, like, in the ceiling or something, and the film just cannot communicate what is happening. Is the phone in the attic? If it’s in the attic, how can they see it? That’s the worst of these moments but there are a few where the film just is not clear about what is happening. This is movie that takes place almost entirely in one house. That shouldn’t happen.
I can’t help but say I’m disappointed. I knew this wouldn’t be good but it was worse than I thought it would be. It felt like just a 21st century version of a bad ’80s Christmas horror movie.