Black Christmas or Black XMas is a remake of the 1974 film, however these two films do not have much in common. While they both take place around Christmas time and in a sorority house, with the girls receiving weird phone calls and girls going missing, that is about all they have in common.
This film does it’s own thing for the most part, going in a completely different direction, and borrowing heavily from a lot of other films. The film seemed to be missing something, and other things were a bit of a mess, I felt the cold hand of studio interference all over this one. While I didn’t think this was the disaster many people have said it was, it wasn’t all that good either. This film sits in the middle of good and bad, while it had somethings going for it, other things were really terrible.
It follows a similar premise to the original, sorority girls are getting picked off one by one. We learn the house they are in has a strange history, in particular to one named Billy (who for some reason the sorority has a weird relationship with), we find out about Billy via flashback’s as well as his breaking out of the Psych Hospital he’s been at. The girls notice one by one they seem to be going missing, getting phone calls from the cell phone of the latest one of them to go missing. Is it Billy doing it all or is there something else going on? Well I won’t ruin it for you, but yes there is something else going on, which is apparent from the very start of the film.
Unlike the original, we see Billy and we learn all about him from the flashbacks. It isn’t an unseen killer here, we pretty much see everything there is to see. The film is brutal, where the original had the kills off screen, this one has them all right in your face. Not only that, but these are harsh and painful to watch kills, the killer is very sick and twisted to say the least. If like me you have a sensitivity to eyeballs, the kills in this wont be easy to watch. I can actually say I was grossed out, as it seemed like every kill involved eye gouging, and even eye eating. What was the point? I have no idea, but it was damn gross! Props go to the film for some good gore effects, those scenes looked and felt very nasty, so they did get something right.
In a film like this, you need to have characters that you care about and someone you can root for against the killer. There was none of that here, all the characters were just terrible, they were unlikable bitches that deserved to have their eyes ripped out of their sockets. While I wasn’t rooting for the killer, I didn’t care enough about anyone to give a damn when things happened. They got some nice young actresses for the film as well (Mary Elisabeth Winestead, Michelle Trachtenberg, Katie Cassidy and Lacey Chabert to name a few), and none of them were particularly interesting or likeable (aside from Winestead none of them made for decent actresses in this either). They some how managed to get Andrea Martin (Phyl) from the original to play the den mother in this, while she was great in the original she was pretty terrible here. Her character seemed like a loon and she played it all wrong. Oliver Hudson also shows up a few times, for what reason? I have no idea, I was confused as to if he was dating one of the girls, and why another girl was watching him in a sex tape and why they tried to make it a big deal when it was so quickly forgotten about.
The film suffers from plot holes, things not making any sense and a lot of confusion. I mean, why does the sorority house seem to worship Billy when he’s a known killer? Where did this stupid present giving tradition come from? It did not make any sense, and it came off as really stupid. The flashback’s while they showed some serious stuff going on, came off as almost comical because of the way they were portrayed. There isn’t much of an explanation as to the motivation behind the killings, and why on this particular night they were happening (unless I was no out of it I missed something).
Things get sillier as the film goes along, and continuity does not seem to exist, it seems awfully convenient how quickly the girls disappear and for their cell phones to be taken and calls to be made. It could be explained by something that was happening in the film, but it isn’t exactly made clear how that aspect worked. Any enjoyment I had out of this was actually the clever use of Christmas songs through out the film, it had a really nice set with the house as well as some good cinematography from time to time. Surprisingly I was never bored by the film, things are always happening (whether or not they make any sense).
Do yourself a favour and skip this remake and catch the original, if you do need to see this I guess there are the good looking ladies to admire as well as some sick kills. Other then that, there isn’t much else with this film, it might have been a better film if the studio had let things go. I do believe Glen Morgan had a good idea for this remake, new ideas, but the end product was not what he intended. It is a shame when this happens, I would have liked to have seen what he intended and not the mess the studio brought out.
Black Christmas (2006) was part of my Horror Films For October, you can find the entire list here.